The History of Filming in Essex

The History of Filming in Essex

From Bond to Batman and The Essex Serpent


Essex is no stranger to the big or small screen having featured in a number of productions, from big budget Hollywood blockbusters to gripping dramas.


From Bond to Batman, The Essex Serpent and ‘The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE)’ Essex is home to stunning rural locations, a beautiful coastline, marvellous medieval towns, heritage and historical buildings throughout the county – all of which have been featured in countless popular TV programmes and films.

While many might associate Essex with TOWIE, in Brentwood, the county has recently seen the Blackwater Estuary at Maldon and Cudmore Grove Country Park provide the set and background for AppleTV+ adaptation of Sarah Perry’s ‘The Essex Serpent’.

Another programme filmed in the heart of the Essex countryside was the popular TV thriller, ‘Liar’, starring Joanne Froggett and Ioan Grufford. The second season aired in March 2020 with filming taking place at Tollesbury Marina and on Tollesbury Wick Marshes, in fact the opening shot of Liar sees Joanne Froggett’s character ‘Laura’ canoeing through the marshland.

The elegant villa, Hylands House and its magnificent parkland in Chelmsford have featured in some high-profile productions such as ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘The Crown’, while Southend Pier was used for Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast with filming in the tearoom taking place.

If you prefer the big screen over the small, then Essex has plenty of filming locations, many of which have been featured in some of tinsel town’s biggest blockbusters. Film crews have been using the towns and countryside of Essex since the 1960’s.

Over the years, Essex has featured in many top Hollywood films, from atmospheric thrillers to summer blockbusters, including Downton Abbey: A New Era at Electric Palace Cinema.

If action thrillers are more you’re thing, the Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible crew have used Essex more than once, with Thorndon Country Park in Brentwood providing the location for some exhibiting action shots in 2017 for the filming of Mission: Impossible Fallout through to the more recent of the Mission franchise which saw Cruise shooting at an underwater set in Basildon in 2023 for MI: Dead Reckoning.

One the first major films was ‘Goldfinger’ when they filmed Auric Goldfinger’s (played by actor Gert Fröbe) Rolls Royce being loaded onto the plane before James Bond (played by actor Sean Connery) drives his Aston Martin into the original terminal building at Southend Airport.

Tilbury Fort has also proved to be a popular film location having featured in ’Wonder Woman’, ‘The Darkest Hour’ and ‘Peterloo’ in 2017, while Tilbury Docks have been seen on the big screen in ‘Batman Begins’ and ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’ as well as many more.

Whatever your filming needs – from big-budget blockbusters to small-screen productions – as a county, Essex has it covered.

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