If you’re already planning your 2024 summer holidays in Cornwall and are looking for inspiration, forget the guide books and endless Instagram posts featuring the same familiar locations. Instead, switch on your TV! Cornwall regularly plays host to film and TV crews, but you won’t always know it. Here are some of our favourites.
Beyond Paradise (2023) – TV series
This BBC spin off from the long running series Death in Paradise sees Kris Marshall’s popular DI Humphrey Goodman swapping tropical Saint Marie for Shipton Abbott in “South Devon”. It seems producers felt that our neighbouring county hadn’t featured in enough TV dramas. But where did they decide to film? Cornwall, of course! Looe in South West Cornwall offered a location with a suitably lively community feel and a working fishing port. For visitors, the town offers two beaches, one sandy, the other rocky and perfect for rock pooling or snorkelling.
James Bond – Die Another Day (2002)
Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and final outing as 007 made inventive use of some well known Cornish locations. The Eden Project stands in for Bond villain Gustav Graves’s ice palace and sees Halle Berry’s stunt double clambering on top and rappelling through a gap in the geodesic dome. Meanwhile the wide windswept vistas of Holywell bay stand in for the fortified beaches of North Korea in the opening, although sadly Bond’s spectacular surfing entrance was filmed elsewhere.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
There aren’t many places where fans of Lewis Carroll can truly experience the strangeness of the work, but Antony House in Torpoint comes close. Standing in for the Ascot Estate, this 18th century National Trust property was the setting for a grand garden party in Tim Burton’s movie version of Alice in Wonderland. Curious fans will enjoy the quirky topiaries, maze like formal gardens and extensive woodlands where you are very welcome to search for rabbit holes.
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Beatles’ fans might want to book themselves in for an evening of ballroom dancing on the sprung floor of Newquay’s Atlantic hotel. The fab four escaped from their yellow touring bus and stayed here for three nights during the filming of Magical Mystery Tour at the end of the Summer of Love. A swimming pool scene was directed by John Lennon here, while the distinctive 14th century fisherman’s lookout, Huer’s Hut, also featured. The Beatles then head up the coast to Porth Beach, a breathtaking stretch of golden sand flanked by two headlands where Paul McCartney rides a tandem bike in the film.
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
Based around a fictional German attempt at kidnapping Winston Churchill during the Second World War, this hugely successful British film is mainly set in Norfolk and the Channel Islands but relied heavily on Cornwall for some of its most memorable scenes. For example, at one point Michael Caine and his men are set to become human torpedoes on Alderney – actually Charlestown, one of Cornwall’s most beautiful harbours. In another scene, Donald Sutherland and Jenny Agutter run through the Marram Grass fringed sand dunes around the beach at Rock, near Kilden Mor.
And Then There Were None (2015)
The appearance of actor Aidan Turner striding moodily along beaches on the Lizard Peninsula in 2015 would suggest another outing for Ross Poldark. But this time he was in murder mystery mode, playing a dastardly cad alongside Sam Neil and Charles Dance in this memorable BBC adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic. The dark and dangerous rocks of Kynance Cove and nearby Mullion Cove provide the atmospheric backdrop for a blood soaked Soldier Island from which none will escape.