We caught up with Leigh Court’s Estate & Operations Manager, Sam Shinner, to find out more about filming at Leigh Court and how the team work with production companies to ensure their visions come to life.
How did using Leigh Court as a filming location first come about?
As with many places in Bristol, our first experience of a production for television was with Casualty, a long while ago now. The crew were really easy to work with and the production went well. A number of the locations team have since moved on, and come back to us whilst working on new projects, having had the experience of filming Casualty here. The first major production we had filming at Leigh Court was a Doctor Who Christmas special back in 2012, and since then, we have had something filmed here nearly every year.
Which productions have used Leigh Court as a location?
Television wise, we have welcomed the cast and crew of Casualty and Doctor Who, seen three series of Poldark being filmed, the first season of Bridgerton and McDonald & Dodds. We have also had a short film filmed here, set in WW2 called Benjamin’s Struggle and another film called Access All Areas, that used our grounds as the backdrop for a festival, so a wide variety of productions! We have also worked with a number of production companies who wanted to use our office spaces and large car park as a unit base for productions on location nearby.
What would you say makes Leigh Court stand out as a special location?
Leigh Court is a beautiful building inside and out. We have large, easily accessible rooms on the ground floor and many period features, combined with extensive grounds and open lawns which all together create a stunning location.
We also have an element of flexibility to adapt the space to the requirement of each production, whether that’s removing modern light fittings for a period drama, or turning the great hall into a spaceship!
We work really closely with the production and design teams in advance of filming, making sure that everything is well planned in advance, and that everyone on the team is aware of what is needed. When production starts, we do our best to let the crew get on with things, and keep a low profile so that we don’t spoil any takes! Our staff and tenant businesses are also used to having filming taking place here and really enjoy getting to see what goes on behind the scenes.
Any memorable moments when filming has been happening at Leigh Court?
Having Doctor Who film here was really interesting; seeing blue headed aliens eating their lunch of fish and chips in the Drawing Room was slightly unusual!
What’s your favourite production featuring Leigh Court?
For me, the scale and scope of Bridgerton was mind blowing. They really put in a huge amount of work into dressing the ground floor, and covered every square inch in some kind of decoration. It really allowed us to imagine what the house would have been like through the 1800s, and it has been great to see how successful the show has been.
How do people get in touch with a filming enquiry?
If you would like to enquire about filming at Leigh Court, complete the enquiry form below and the team will get back to you ASAP.