Paddington 2 to Chariots of Fire: Films shot in and around Harrogate

Mike Hine with some of his collection.
Mike Hine with some of his collection.

Ever wondered what's been filmed in and around Harrogate over the years? Chances are, a lot more films have been shot around here than you might think...

From Chariots of Fire to Paddington 2, our district's stunning landscapes have taken centre stage for a respectable number of high profile films. And a new free exhibition at the Harrogate Convention Centre highlights these big screen connections - visitors can see posters of feature films that have been shot in or around Harrogate.

The collection belongs to Harrogate historian and former tourism promotion manager Mike Hine.

Mike said: "As and when I see that a film has been made here, I try to get one of the original posters. If it’s a film from a long time ago and the posters aren’t widely available any more, I have to go searching online for them. But I’ve no reproductions - they are all originals.

Probably the most renowned film featured in Mike’s poster collection is Chariots of Fire, the 1982 story of Olympic athletes Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. In one scene, Crescent Gardens doubles up as a Parisian street café. The film went on to win four Oscars.

Mike’s collecting began when his experience in promoting the Harrogate district led to him assisting producers of the 1997 film Fairy Tale: A True Story, which was loosely based on the famous Cottingley fairies hoax.

Mike said: “If I find out in advance that a film is coming out, I contact local cinema managers and ask them to save me a copy of the poster. Out of the posters I’ve bought I’ve never paid more than £40, but I don’t know how much the whole collection would be worth now.”

From his 18 strong collection, which goes back to 1960, Mike’s favourite is his poster for the 1979 film Agatha, a dramatisation of the real-life disappearance of crime writer Agatha Christie, in December 1926.

Her disappearance caused intense media speculation and a huge police hunt before she turned up safely at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel, claiming to be suffering from amnesia.

Mike said: “That was the film shoot which spent the most time in town. They filmed a lot outside the Royal Baths and Pump Rooms and of course the Old Swan Hotel. Having big stars like Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave in town was great fun.”

Mike is still adding to his collection, and has already learned of three more films shot in the region - The Little Stranger, Funny Cow, and Ghost Stories.

The exhibition can be seen on the mezzanine level of Entrance Three (Kings Road) at Harrogate Convention Centre, during opening hours.

List of films shot in and around Harrogate:

Paddington 2 (2017) – Nidd Gorge Viaduct

Swallows and Amazons (2016) - Plumpton Rock

Wild Child (2008) – Leathley

The History Boys (2006) – Fountains Abbey

Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997) - Ramsgill

Jane Eyre (1996) – Blubberhouses Moor

The Secret Garden (1993) – Fountains Hall and Allerton Park

Maurice (1987) - Based on the book by EM Forster, which was written in Harrogate

Wetherby (1985) – Harrogate Grammar School

Chariots of Fire (1981) Crescent Gardens

Omen III - The Final Conflict (1981) The Final Conflict (1981) – Fountains Abbey

Agatha (1979) The Old Swan Hotel, The Pump Rooms

Black Jack (1979) North Stainley Hall

The Water Babies (1978) Denton Hall near Ilkley

Escape from the Dark (1976) Ripley Castle and Greenhow Hill

Jane Eyre (1970) - Blubberhouses Moor

Wuthering Heights (1970) Ripley