Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios is very ‘Becoming Elizabeth’

Becoming Elizabeth, the new STARZ Original Tudor drama exploring the fascinating, untold story of the early life of England’s most iconic Queen, filmed at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios last year.

Made by UK production company The Forge, Becoming Elizabeth was predominantly filmed on a network of beautifully detailed period sets built at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios between September 2020 and January 2021. Filming also took place at Bristol Cathedral, assisted by Bristol Film Office.

Locations further afield that will feature in the eight-part series include Wells Cathedral and The Bishops Palace & Gardens in Wells, Barrington Court in Somerset, Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, Church of the Holy Cross in the Gloucestershire village of Avening, Cardiff Castle, Broughton Castle in Banbury and Haddon Hall in Bakewell.

 Producer Lisa Osborne:

“The Bottle Yard Studios was the perfect base for Becoming Elizabeth in the pandemic year of 2020/21. A friendly welcoming home for our amazing Tudor sets – a palace, a manor house and a prison cell all fitted with ease into two of the Studios’ cavernous Tank Houses – and brilliantly sited for access to the many period properties in South West England. Henry VIII built the Palace of Whitehall for Anne Boleyn so much of it would have been quite new during the period of Becoming Elizabeth, although none survived into later centuries. Production Designer Stevie Herbert was therefore able to draw on historical records for authenticity, but also to let her imagination go in using every inch of The Bottle Yard’s biggest stage to create a suite of rooms suitable to the story’s needs.”

Long before she ascended the throne, young Elizabeth Tudor, played by Alicia von Rittberg, was an orphaned teenager who became embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court. The death of King Henry VIII sees his nine-year-old son Edward, played by Oliver Zetterström, take the throne and sets into motion a dangerous scramble for power when Elizabeth, Edward and their sister Mary, played by Romola Garai find themselves pawns in a game between the great families of England and the powers of Europe who vie for control of the country.

Additional key players in the relentless quest for power include King Henry’s widow, Catherine Parr, played by Jessica Raine, Thomas Seymour, played by Tom Cullen, the new King’s uncle, who quickly marries the widowed Catherine but soon takes an interest in the teenage Elizabeth and Duke of Somerset, played by John Heffernan, who loses no time in claiming the position of Lord Protector for himself when the old King dies.

Laura Aviles, Senior Film Manager (Bristol City Council):

“The sets for Becoming Elizabeth that The Forge created at The Bottle Yard Studios were utterly magnificent and historically accurate down to the finest detail. At The Bottle Yard we have space to create entire worlds, whilst being just a short drive from some of the most impressive historic properties and cathedrals in the UK. This, combined with supportive Film Offices and the bank of skilled crew in the region, makes Bristol and the West of England a consistently competitive destination for period drama filming. Our track record speaks for itself, with past STARZ dramas The Spanish Princess and The White Princess also made at The Bottle Yard Studios. It was an honour to add Becoming Elizabeth to this growing roster, a visually rich international drama, which looks utterly breath-taking on screen.”

Becoming Elizabeth is created and written by award-winning playwright and television screenwriter Anya Reiss, the series made its debut last weekend (June 12) on STARZ.

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