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Cornwall On The Big Screen

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With outstanding natural beauty, rich history and diverse culture, Cornwall is a dramatic location worthy of being filmed in any hit show.

It is only fitting that the stunning scenery Cornwall deserves to be portrayed on the big screen. Here we have a list of British shows and films that captured the essence of Cornwall’s mystical lands.

Doc Martin

Doc Martin is one of the most famous TV shows to be set in the Duchy - gripping Sunday evening TV viewers across the country during the shows reign, with their pilot first airing in 2004.

The British comedy drama portrays the struggling life of Doc Martin, a doctor who has extremely limited capabilities of understanding other people with very poor people skills.

Starring Martin Clunes as the lead role, Clunes’ character develops a phobia restricting him to become unable to perform operations.

Doc must make a life changing decision to retrain as a GP, and takes up the position in the small, quiet town of Portwenn, set in the beautiful residence of Port Isaac.

When patients are expecting the comforting words and support from their local GP, they are left heavily disappointed.

Martin Clunes is also joined by a star studded line up including Caroline Catz, who plays Martin’s desired crush Louisa Glasson, the local primary school teacher. Alongside Eileen Atkins, who depicts Martin’s Aunty throughout the show.

Doc Martin first aired in 2004 and has recently completed its 7th series, with viewing figures failing to dip. This has encouraged producer Phillippa Braithwaite to create one final series to conclude the brilliant British drama which has aired over 50 episodes.

Poldark

Poldark is the second recreation from the BBC, after basing their hit show on the original books written by Winston Graham.

The original series boasted the BBC’s most successful series until the title was striped in 1996, receiving over 15 million audience viewers across 40 countries for the 1970’s show. The BBC hoped to replicate these outstanding television achievements with the latest series, starring Aidan Turner playing the lead role of Ross Poldark.

Set in the 18th century, Ross Poldark returns to his beloved home of Cornwall after fighting in the American Civil War to brutally find his world has been flipped upside down on arrival. To everyone’s shock and disbelief, including his fiancée, he had survived the battle to only find her engaged to his cousin. 

With his father now dead, his home destroyed and to find his cherished love with somebody else, Poldark decides to relaunch his parent’s now derelict mine, but faces head on challenges from a ruthless banker.

The hit series captured the outstanding beauty across Cornwall with each location filmed. Cornwall’s rugged coastline depicts the shows set period of time perfectly, with West Penwith’s mining ruins and sheltered coves relishing the coverage across TV’s across the country. The show was heavily filmed in other certain locations in the Duchy, such as Charlestown, Porthgwarra, across the Botallack region and in Truro’s capital.

After becoming an instant hit on BBC One when the first episode aired in March 2015, the broadcast station recently revealed the show shall continue with a second series in autumn 2016.

Jamaica Inn

The BBC One period drama was adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s gothic Jamaica Inn novel, starring household names such as Jessica Findlay, Sean Harris and Matthew McNulty.

The story picks up from the 1936 novel portraying 23-year-old Mary Yellan venturing across Bodmin Moors, where she stumbles across the Jamaica Inn. The three-part TV show was filmed down at Holywell Bay in Newquay for the intense smuggling scenes, across the beach and in the natural caves surrounding Newquay.

Jamaica Inn captured the 18th century essence across several Cornish sites, with little props and extras needed to recreate the vintage themes and atmosphere. With series writer Emma Frost said: “Cornish locations are an essential to the drama.”

Bodmin Moor became a filming paradise for the creators, they utilised other Cornish spots to depict the theme originally written in the novel. The 18th century farmhouse in Praze-An-Beeble was used for filming but was also where Frost wrote the first episode. The series also featured Altarnun and Fowey which were very influential spots for the writer.

Bodmin’s Jamaica Inn could not be used as a filming location because of its large car park and busy roads close by. Yet the building was used for inspiration to recreate how it would have looked in 1820.

Coast

Many Cornish coastal hot spots appeared throughout the BBC Two show ‘Coast’, with several episodes dedicated to Cornwall’s outstanding natural beauty.

Led by reporter Neil Oliver, the show originally visited the Cornish lands for their forth episode during the launch of the second series. The team identifies the network of communication cables located underneath Porthcurno beach that circle around the world.

The submarine telegraph system was a vital importance that paved the way for modern communications technology across the world.

The show later covers the Isle of Scilly showing the best of Britain’s sub-tropical islands, revealing their history and hidden ancient tombs. 

The TV once again returned to our Celtic lands on a fishing expedition on board one of the last surviving Brixham trawlers – a stunning sailing vessel built in neighbouring county Devon over a hundred years ago. The team also explore some of Henry VIII’s outstanding defence forts around the coasts from invading enemies.

Die Another Day

In 2002, British fans welcomed their favourite MI5 agent back to the big screen. With star Pierce Brosnan once again suiting up for the role of Britain’s most powerful weapon, James Bond. But this time, Cornish Bond fans got excited when they saw the 007 agent take the countries defence to Cornwall, with intense filming of a huge part of the film being done at the Eden Project.

The unique biomes are usually home to the diverse climates ad environments from around the world. Yet, the world’s largest greenhouses were a critical location for the blockbuster Die Another Day. The villains diamond headquarters were located at the heart of the Eden Project, but the trigger-friendly film was also filmed at Cornwall’s Newquay bay for the opening shots when Bond arrives to the shore.

Guest writer: Stanley Morris

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