Shepperton Studios has provided the backdrop for popular television shows aplenty, including sitcoms and gameshows.
The iconic Surrey filming studio is in full expansion mode at the moment, as Netflix has announced a doubling of its presence in the studio.
Owned by Pinewood Group which also owns Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios has a range of different sizes of stage for different purposes, from its 3,168 sq ft E and F Stages all the way up to its largest stage, the 30,000 sq ft H Stage.
Shepperton Studios is best known for its films, but some of the country’s favourite TV programmes, not to mention music videos and even video games, have also been filmed here.
Some of these are film adaptations of classic TV programmes – but there is plenty of appetite for these studios on the small and large screen, which is only set to grow further as Netflix’s expansion continues.
1. The Vicar of Dibley
The 1990s BBC series, starring amongst many others, Dawn French as vicar Geraldine Granger and the recently-lost Gary Waldhorn as councillor David Horton, had large sections of its exterior village scenes filmed in Turville in Buckinghamshire.
But producer Peter Bennett-Jones told Huffington Post in 2020 that internal scenes at the vicarage were filmed in studio in Shepperton. He admitted that there was quite a geographical disconnect between filming in Shepperton and Buckinghamshire.
He said: “You’d film somebody going into the vicarage, which was a house just by the church gate in Turville, and you’d just edit that together with the shots inside, done in the studio.”
2. Red Dwarf
Red Dwarf, another much-loved British sitcom which credits composer Howard Goodall for its theme tune, was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, and the series made use of Shepperton Studios’ D, K and L Stages.
Shepperton Studios reports filming for Red Dwarf as recently as Series X in 2012, and stars of the science fiction series Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and Hattie Hayridge have more recently been seen in the county as part of Guildford Comic Con.
3. Dad’s Army
The classic World War Two-themed comedy series written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft ran from 1968-1977.
While primarily filmed in Thetford in Norfolk (where it has even been commemorated with a museum), when the series released its first film in 1971, they turned to Shepperton Studios for a backdrop.
4. Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends
The Britt Alcroft animation of the children’s TV train was brought to life at Shepperton Studios from series two to 12 of Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends.
Train character models were built to a 1:32 scale at Shepperton Studios, before the series started being animated in full CGI in 2009, and was shot on the L Stage and T Stage, the latter now known as the Carol Reed Stage.
5. Downton Abbey
The popular ITV series, which ran from 2010-2015, used Highclere Castle in Hampshire as its main filming location.
But come 2019 when it released its first film, some scenes were also shot on the R Stage at Shepperton Studios. There is no official word yet as to whether the studios are also being used for the upcoming 2022 film.
6. The Muppet Show
The Muppets took on the classic Charles Dickens story ‘ A Christmas Carol ‘ in a 1992 film, featuring Michael Caine as Scrooge, one of many actors who has called Surrey, specifically Leatherhead, home.
It was a rare Muppets film not to feature Kermit as the lead character, and they clearly enjoyed their Shepperton Studios experience – they were back for Muppets Treasure Island (1996), starring Billy Connolly, Tim Curry and Jennifer Saunders.
7. Dancing On Ice
The sixth series of ITV skating show Dancing On Ice saw it broadcast live in HD for the first time, and the J and K stages at Shepperton provided it with its setting.
The Pinewood Studios website explains that the location “enabled the production to have everything ‘under one roof’ utilising Shepperton’s resources and on site tenants”.
The ice rink was at J Stage, while the training rink and catering facilities were found at the adjacent K stage.
8. Doctor Who
It may be a world away from the current Jodie Whittaker edition of Dr Who we know today, but Peter Cushing’s non-canonical Dr Who, directed by Gordon Flemyng, filmed its Dr Who and The Daleks film at Shepperton Studios.
It has been reported that the H Stage was used to recreate a destroyed London, and yes, the daleks were onsite for filming!
9. 8 Out Of 10 Cats
Jimmy Carr, Jon Richardson and the much-missed Sean Lock were amongst the famous faces onsite when 8 Out Of 10 Cats filmed its series 18 at Shepperton at a set shared with fellow satirical show Russell Howard’s Good News.
The panel show, also famous for its merging with Countdown to create 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, filmed on the K Stage in October through to December 2014. It had links to the Pinewood Group beforehand, with previous shows filmed at Pinewood Studios.
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