Reimagining Henry VIII’s most infamous wife was the challenge set for Fable Pictures, the production company behind Channel 5’s period drama, Anne Boleyn. In this three-part 2021 TV hit, those fateful months before Anne Boleyn’s execution in 1536 are told from the perspective of Anne herself, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, who made history as the first black actor to portray Anne Boleyn. The entire production was filmed in Yorkshire, during the midst of the covid-19 pandemic.
The location scouts were spoilt for choice in their hunt for screen doubles for Greenwich Palace and the Tower of London. Yorkshire has a wealth of heritage attractions, from castles to country manor houses, that date to the medieval period – some even have real-life connections with Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth I, who went on to rule England after Mary I in the mid 16th century.
Bolton Castle in Wensleydale played an important role in Anne Boleyn, standing in for both Greenwich Palace and the Tower of London in a number of scenes. Markenfield Hall near Ripon also featured, along with nearby Ripley Castle, Fountains Hall and Castle Howard, which recently also starred in the Netflix series Bridgerton.
West Yorkshire locations included Oakwell Hall and Harewood House, two perennial favourites with filmmakers, as well as the lesser-known historical gems of East Riddlesden Hall and medieval St Michael’s Church in the village of Emley.