Royal Holloway has featured as a set for a number of films and TV shows. Here are six of our favourites.
1. Sir David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities
It was a huge honour to welcome the eminent and inspirational Sir David Attenborough for three days to film some of our research in the School of Biological Sciences. Natural Curiosities is a nature documentary series which will be broadcast later this year. More will be revealed about the exciting discoveries that were discussed for the documentary nearer to the time of broadcast.
2. Great British Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo visited Royal Holloway for the filming of the final leg of his Great British Railway Journeys through the home counties at Egham. He interviewed Principal Professor Paul Layzell about the history of the College and spoke with Curator Dr Laura MacCulloch about the Picture Gallery and archives. The theme of the episode was to explain how Victorian institutions changed norms and behaviours in society: Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges had a significant impact in ensuring equality of treatment for women through their pioneering education programmes.
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Audiences who have watched the film Avengers: Age of Ultron will recognise the iconic Founder’s Building which takes a star turn in one of the scenes.
Royal Holloway appears as itself, with a caption showing the location, in a scene in the heart of the story. The scene shows Thor, played by actor Chris Hemsworth, pulling up in a car outside and walking towards the west side of the Founder’s Building, where he meets the character Erik Slevig (Stellan Skarsgård).
Camera crews spent a month filming the new Delirium film, with a cast that included Timothy West and Clare Grogan. Concluding the D-trilogy (Desire, Delight and Delirium) Delirium, produced by Scenario films, tells the story of an international composer returning to his College with the commission to compose a Requiem for the College’s centennial celebrations. The visual splendour of Royal Holloway provided the perfect backdrop for the filming, with scenes being shot in the chapel, library, main lecture theatre, boardrooms, Picture Gallery, Boiler House and original dining hall as well as in the stately quadrangles.
5. Downtown Abbey
Royal Holloway provided a fitting backdrop for the Christmas story line of the fourth series of the much-loved television series Downton Abbey. The Picture Gallery acted as a suitable double for the Royal Academy summer exhibition and characters were seen admiring, sketching and discussing the collection of artwork. The two Founder’s Building boardrooms were transformed into a 1920’s apartment set and used throughout the episode.
6. BBC Stargazing Live
A crowd of around 7,000 turned up to discover the world of astronomy with BBC Stargazing Live, which saw the University campus come alive with astronomy amateurs, enthusiasts and experts. Hosted by comedian and science presenter Helen Arney and TV astronomer Mark Thompson, the filming included space-themed activities such as the chance to train like an astronaut, become an interplanetary weather reporter, build a universe from Lego, and view the night sky through specialist telescopes.
A light show was created by more than 40 Royal Holloway students who used torches and a clever piece of camera technology to plot out the Great Bear and other constellations in the North Quad for the live BBC show.