Churches are part of our everyday landscape, imagine a view over a countryside valley without intriguing towers and spires popping up to entice you. They are also the places we go to celebrate key life events; birth, marriage, death. As such, they must also be part of the landscape of our worlds on TV. As with film, sometimes they are churches, sometimes they are something else altogether. The fun is in spotting them, and then visiting the real life locations of our favourite on screen moments.

Love should conquer all

Poldark // The New Room (John Wesley’s Chapel) in Bristol, is the location for some of the most dramatic scenes in Poldark. The 18th century building was transformed into a courtroom, where Ross Poldark is on trial accused of murder, wrecking and inciting a riot. The courtroom was complete with dock, tables for the prosecution and the defence, and the pulpit as the judge’s seat. ‘The Methodies’ of Cornwall are often referenced by Winston Graham in the Poldark books. John Wesley visited to Cornwall 32 times between 1743 to 1787 and preached to miners, fishermen and their families.

The New Room / John Wesley's Chapel, Bristol

Oh, I say

Eastenders // St James's has proved to be a very popular location for filming and in recent years scenes from Eastenders, Holby City and Mr Selfridge have been shot in and around the church and grounds. In 2016 the church and churchyard were used for the funeral of Peggy Mitchell. Behind the scenes pictures show a horse drawn carriage arriving at the church with Peggy’s casket which is then carried by her son and grandson, while other stills show filming about to take place by a graveside.

St James, Bushey

I live in a very funny area

Coronation Street // St Mary’s is familiar to Coronation Street viewers as the church that has been used for baptisms, weddings and funerals for over 20 years on the long running soap. Ken Mair, location manager, has said ’It has a good graveyard, it’s situated at the end of a no through road so there is little traffic and it has good parking facilities. What’s more there is a pub next door, which is useful if it starts to rain in the middle of filming!’

St Mary, Prestwich

Humility is the mother of giants

Father Brown // In 2012 the BBC made an initial series of Father Brown, based on GK Chesterton’s fictional detective. With a worldwide audience, the programme has been a great success, and brings visitors from around the globe to our church and village. Father Brown has now completed five series, filmed in the church and in and around Blockley. For the christmas special, winter made an unseasonal return in May when snow covered half of the churchyard and the filming included a donkey, a sheep, and an ox walking into church.

St Peter & St Paul, Blockley

The radish jam was a particular success

Little Britain / Midsomer Murders / Pride and Prejudice / The Vicar of Dibley // The village is better known as Dibley from the BBC series the Vicar of Dibley, in which the delightful St Mary the Virgin Church is better known as St Barnabas. The village has also featured in the 101 Dalmatians, Goodnight Mr Tom, Pride and Prejudice and various other TV series including Little Britain and Midsomer Murders. The Cobstone Windmill featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

St Mary the Virgin, Turville

But they are all good stories

Wolf Hall / Cranford / Pride and Prejudice // Lacock Abbey represented Wolf Hall, the Seymour family seat, in the TV series. The abbey has also appeared in Cranford, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Wolfman and the Harry Potter films. Some sequences in Harry Potter include the cloister walk when Harry leaves Professor Lockhart's room and a peeling plaster room where Harry attends Professor Snape's class. The interior of the abbey was also used in the BBC production of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Lacock Abbey, Lacock

What is a weekend

Downton Abbey // This charming village will seem oddly familiar to Downton Abbey fans, doubling as the fictional Yorkshire village of Downton, supposedly somewhere between Ripon and Thirsk! The church has seen an increase in visitors thanks to ITV drama series Downton Abbey which was filmed in and around the church. Renamed as St Michael & All Angels in Downton Abbey, has hosted a number of dramatic Downton events including weddings, funerals, christenings and even a jilting at the altar!

St Mary the Virgin, Bampton

Please call me Adam

Rev // Some people believe Shakespeare may have worshipped here, even that it might have inspired scenes in Romeo and Juliet. Today it provides the backdrop to the hit BBC series Rev, starring Tom Hollander. The series revolves around a Church of England priest who becomes the vicar of an inner city London church after leaving a small rural Suffolk parish.

St Leonard, Shoreditch

Welcome to Midsomer

Midsomer Murders // Great and Little Haseley have been much filmed for the ITV programme Midsomer Murders. Off the beaten track, these two villages are quintessential Midsomer and a great place to wander. The church was used for wedding scenes in Midsomer Rhapsody and the postman’s funeral in Dark Autumn. Many other churches across the Cotswolds have also been used in the series. Find out more at: www.visitmidsomer.com

St Peter, Great Hasely

And bring to me loves glory

Heartbeat // Regular viewers of 'Heartbeat' will know what a dangerous place Aidensfield has turned out to be. In addition to many funerals, St Mary’s has had satanic symbols painted on the church door, the church broken into by a circus family, thefts from the church with suspicion falling on the vicarage, a lay preacher hurt in a shooting accident, a suspicious organist and a grave robbed to recover a stuffed sheep. For some of the extras the most memorable event of the day was when a well-made production assistant became stuck in the trapdoor between the bell chamber and roof of the tower. The extraction, which was not easy, produced great merriment!

St Mary, Goathland

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