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ITV’s Victoria – preparing Harewood for filming



Harewood House was recently used as a major set for ITV’s new series, Victoria. The crew filmed across Yorkshire for several months during winter 2015/16; Harewood was fortunate enough to be one of their key locations. Starring Jenna Coleman, the eight part series, which begins on 28th August, chronicles the life of Queen Victoria.Victoria on ITV was filmed at Harewood and includes Jenna Coleman

The crew used much of the State Floor, Below Stairs and parts of the Estate. Some areas will be more recognisable than others. Some amazing set dressing transformed Harewood into completely different locations including Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

Preparing Harewood House for fimling

In order to prepare for period dramas such as this, a lot of work is required in the house. Picture lights need to be removed from above paintings in the state rooms, book bandages which denote damage need to be disguised, clocks need to be wound down to avoid any unwanted chiming in the background, furniture needs to be moved to make way for set dressing, and light bulbs, carpets, porcelain and paintings all need to be removed and stored away safely; and so it goes on to prepare the house for filming. The House and Collections team catalogue the location of every single object which is moved to ensure their safety.

Below Stairs, work is also needed. Objects are removed and false walls, also known as flattage, are erected by the production company to conceal modern pipes and unwanted features.

Once the rooms are cleared and ready for use, the design team move in and the magic of television transforms the rooms and corridors. Every modern feature is disguised, from plug sockets to light switches, giving a truer reflection of the period. Paint colours are matched with our walls to make sure that coverings blend in seamlessly.

Furniture is brought in and the ingenious work of the set designers alter the rooms with which we are all so familiar. Chairs and tables bought cheaply at auction imitate fine pieces fit for a queen, rolls of fabric usually suitable for waistcoat lining imitate rich silks, and rented props add the finishing touches. Below Stairs, food decorates the kitchens and brings them to life.

Harewood House is a filming location

Things begin to get really busy once the main production crew arrive. The car park is used as a unit base with trucks brought in to cover every aspect of the production. The mobile studio includes hair, makeup, costume, and catering to name but a few. Lighting, camera, and toilets trucks are parked closer to the house so that the crew have easy access to their equipment (and the facilities!).

See Harewood House where ITV Victoria filmed

The lighting itself is a huge undertaking, particularly during winter. Often night-time needs to appear as day, and daytime needs to appear as night! Scaffolding rigs are erected to beam large lights into the rooms. Cherry pickers are also used to get light into awkward and high places in the house.

Inside the house, the crew bring in all sorts of special effects equipment to help create the scenes they are filming. Hazers are used to create a soft, smoky light, and fake fires are lit in our fireplaces. A professional firefighter is always on site to make sure there are no problems and to oversee the operation.

For a period drama such as Victoria, the costumes are immaculate and historical accuracy is considered at every point. From fake mutton chops to elegant jewellery, the costume department have their work cut out for them ensuring perfection in every scene. Once dressed, images are taken of the actors to ensure consistency in each shot.

Only now do the actors arrive on set and get in position to rehearse. Naturally, there is some downtime. It’s a truly wonderful sight to see a footman dressed in full regalia checking out his iPhone.

Harewood House is used as a location for ITV's Victoria

And action! Once the cameras start rolling the bustling house falls silent. Everyone is forced to whisper (if talking is absolutely necessary), and to tiptoe quietly across the old, creaky floorboards. Mobile phones are on silent, radios are turned down and any noise from outside is ceased. The directors and actors now take centre stage to bring the story prepared in the scripts to life.

Visit Yorkshire to see Harewood which featured in ITV's Victoria series

For all of us at Harewood, the Victoria production has been made even more special because of Harewood’s own connections with Queen Victoria. As Great Grandmother to Princess Mary, Countess of Harewood, we are fortunate enough to care for personal objects which Victoria owned. Pieces include a wonderful English School miniature of Queen Victoria replicating a Franz Xaver Winterhalter portrait, a writing set she owned, and a watercolour she herself painted. These objects will be on display in 2017 as part of Victorian Harewood alongside costumes from the production.

We are looking forward to seeing the programme air and we hope that you’ll be able to spot Harewood during the series.

Read more about the Victoria – a costume exhibition and how groups can enjoy the new Victorian Harewood Tour.

Congratulations to Ali and Jonny Brownlee!

Visit Harewood to see Ali and Jonny Brownlee

They did it! Team GB’s Alistair and Jonny Brownlee secured an historic Olympic triathlon 1-2 on the Copacabana Beach in Rio last Thursday, with Alistair taking gold finishing in 1:45:01, six seconds in front of Jonny who secured silver.

Alistair becomes the first triathlete to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals after his triumph in London 2012, with Jonny bettering his bronze medal from four years ago.

Instead bronze went to South Africa’s Henri Schoeman, but it was the Brownlee Brothers who created one of THE moments of the Games and with it triathlon history, ending with an emotional finish-line embrace after the pair had given it everything.

Commenting on his momentous victory, Alistair Brownlee said,

“I was pretty confident we would get first and second but I didn’t know which way round it would be. I just had the edge on Jonny but he has killed me in training and I have been going through hell. It has been so hard. I have woken up in pain every day. The swim wasn’t that quick but we knew the first two laps on the bike would be crucial. The last few weeks we have been training to commit and, boy, we did. As soon as we got to halfway I knew we were going to get two medals and it was just a run for it.”

Post-race Jonny Brownlee said:

“I’m used to getting beaten by him, but at the start of the day the dream was to get gold and silver and that is what we have done. We had a plan and really committed, and when Alistair pushed on I thought it I would be risking a medal to go with him. Maybe in four years if he is older and greyer he will be that bit slower… but maybe he won’t be.”

A huge congratulations from everyone at Brownlee Tri to both Alistair and Jonny on their fantastic achievements at Rio 2016.

Don’t miss the chance to see the newly crowned Olympic gold and silver medallists next month and be part of their legacy triathlon – Brownlee Tri – on Saturday 24 September at Harewood House, Leeds.

Entries are still open for individual super-sprint and sprint distances, along with the exclusive youth-junior wave for 15-18 year olds and the Team Relay. Whether it’s your first triathlon or you’re an experienced racer, there’s something for everyone at Brownlee Tri 2016.

Click here for more information or to book your place

Harewood host Emmerdale Cast at the Farm Experience

Emmerdale is based on Harewood Estate

Harewood was recently joined by cast and crew from ITV’s Emmerdale. Actors from the series met with national media to promote a major storyline from the programme. After a screening of the episode, Nicola Wheeler (Nicola), John McArdle (Ronnie), Pasha Bocarie (Rakesh), Gemma Atkinson (Carly), Louise Marwood (Chrissie), Kelvin Fletcher (Andy), Samantha Giles (Bernice) and John Bowe (Lawrence) took part in a Q&A and round table discussions.

Visit Yorkshire to see Harewood Farm

After lunch, the press and cast went out to explore Harewood House and grounds. The first stop was the new Farm Experience where cast members met the latest animal additions including pot-bellied pigs, alpacas, rabbits and pygmy goats.

Gemma said “Emmerdale Village is on the Harewood Estate but it is so self-contained, it’s rare we get the opportunity to see what else there is! The farm is great and the surroundings are so beautiful, it’s been a great day.”

Visit Yorkshire where Emmerdale is filmed at Harewood

After their Farm Experience, two cast members made their way to the Penguin Pool to feed the family of Humboldt’s a spot of lunch. Gemma and Louise, met with Celine, Harewood’s Penguin Keeper in the Bird Garden, where they were introduced to the family of 13 birds.

Celine said, “Gemma and Louise were naturals with the penguins. They were very relaxed and clearly animal lovers! They can lend a hand in the Bird Garden any time.

Alexis Guntrip, Harewood’s Marketing Manager said, “Harewood Estate has proudly been home to the Emmerdale village set since 1997. It was great to work with ITV and to see the cast enjoying the House and grounds.”

Visit Yorkshire to enjoy the Harewood Farm

Harewood Farm Experience is open throughout the school holidays with additional activities for families planned. Visitors can now purchase goat food from the Courtyard Information Centre and feed the hungry animals themselves or join the keepers for dedicated “Meet the Animal” sessions run daily. Nature trails, badge making, a Farm eye-spy trail and giant games including croquet and snakes and ladders are also dotted around the park. https://blackmenheal.org/wp-content/languages/new/strattera.html

A Great Art Collector: Henry Lascelles; the 6th Earl of Harewood: 14th July – 30th October 2016

The 6th Earl of Harewood was born Henry, Viscount Lascelles in 1882. From an early age, the 6th Earl developed a keen interest in fine art, and as a young man he travelled to Europe on the grand tour. This passion for the arts received a great boost in 1916, when his uncle, the eccentric 2nd Marquis of Clanricarde, died leaving the 6th Earl a considerable fortune of £2,500,000. This enabled the 6th Earl to develop his passion for acquiring art, establishing his reputation as one of the most renowned collectors of his age.

Come to Harewood and enjoy the unique opportunity to discover Renaissance masters which haven’t been exhibited to the public for years!


Visit Harewood in Yorkshire to see rare Renaissance collections

Drawing in charcoal with chalk highlight on blue paper: Samson slaying the Philistine, by Jocopo Robusti, Il Tintoretto, 16th century

Visit Yorkshire to enjoy Renaissance art

Handwritten invoice from Thomas Agnew & Sons requesting payment for purchases made by Viscount Lascelles from August 1917 to June 1919

FriendsFest Comes to Harewood

FriendsFest at Harewood

Global award winning ‘Comedy Central UK’s FRIENDSFEST’ will return this summer with Monica and Rachel’s apartment and new fan experiences including the chance to re-create the iconic titles sequence, a bigger Central Perk, Monica’s Moon Dance Diner, Vegas Chapel of Love and an 80’s silent disco London, Tuesday 28th June 2016: Comedy Central UK has announced that after the huge success of FriendsFest in London last September, it is set to return this summer for an extended six week tour, produced in partnership with The Luna Cinema.

From August 24th-October 1st the new enhanced FriendsFest will tour six locations around the UK featuring new recreated iconic sets from the show and more interactive elements, giving fans the ultimate Friends experience.

FriendsFest is a celebration of all things Friends where visitors can get together with their friends and immerse themselves in the world made famous by the hugely popular TV show! Fans will not only be treated to all the best sets from last year’s award winning event, including Monica and Rachel’s apartment, but this time they can also grab a drink at the new Central Perk, or a bite to eat in Monica’s Moon Dance Diner, pose on the beach in Joey’s sand mermaid or go back in time to the gang’s high school days with an 80’s Silent Disco.

Ticket holders will also be able try their hand at Smelly Cat Karaoke, warbling to Phoebe’s musical masterpiece, or have a game of table football in Joey and Chandler’s apartment, before taking a trip to Las Vegas where they can share a romantic snap with their loved one in the Vegas Chapel of Love (just make sure you haven’t had one too many like Ross and Rachel…).

There will also be a whole host of other Friends inspired activities including themed food stalls and cocktail bar for visitors to kick back and enjoy this mammoth Friends outdoor festival.

Last year, tickets sold out in a staggering 13 minutes so fans are urged to book fast to avoid disappointment.

Jill Offman, MD Comedy Central UK & SVP Comedy VIMN said, “Friends remains one of Comedy Central’s most popular shows, with over 5.5 million people tuning in to watch it each month. Last year FriendsFest was an overwhelming success, with a quarter of a million fans applying for 5000 tickets. Thousands of fans have been contacting us all year begging us to bring FriendsFest back, so teaming up with The Luna Cinema felt like the perfect way to bring the event to even more fans and make it even bigger than before”.

Viewers wanting to get into the mood for Comedy Central UK’s FriendsFest tour can watch Friends daily on Comedy Central UK.

Don’t miss out like thousands of fans last year, sign up NOW to register for early bird tickets to Comedy Central’s FriendsFest UK Tour www.comedycentral.co.uk/friendsfest

FriendsFest will be at Harewood between the 14th – 18th September.


Fans have until midnight on 29th June to sign up for early bird tickets which will be released at 10am on Thursday 30th June.

General sale will commence on the 1st July at 10am. Tickets cost £24.