Becoming Elizabeth: Tudor drama filmed in Bristol coming to our screens

New Starz Tudor drama series Becoming Elizabeth was filmed at Bristol Cathedral and other South West historic properties

Bristolians may recognise some of the places captured in the upcoming Tudor drama series Becoming Elizabeth.

The new STARZ programme premieres Sunday 12 June, and was filmed on a network of period sets built at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios last year.

Filming took place during the pandemic, and with the help of the Bristol Film Office, some scenes were also shot at the Bristol Cathedral, before venturing to other South West historic properties such as Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The drama, produced by UK company The Forge, explores the untold story of the early life of England’s most iconic Queen.

The eight-part series follows young Elizabeth Tudor who becomes embroiled in the political and sexual politics of the English court, on her journey to secure the crown from Henry VIII’s nine-year-old son.

Starring Alicia Von Rittberg (Fury, Hallo Again), Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife), and Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey), the Tudor drama was able to come to life at the Bottle Yard Studios, overcoming setbacks from Covid-19.

Elizabeth is played by Alicia von Rittberg (Pic: STARZ)

The show’s producer, Lisa Osbourne, said that the studio facility was the perfect base:

“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.

“[Our] Production Designer 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.”

Tom Cullen and John Heffernan in Becoming Elizabeth (Pic:STARZ)

As Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios is the largest dedicated film studio in the West of England, Production Designer Stevie Herbert said she “could go on decorating the sets forever.”

She said: “The stories about this court are set in two or three rooms at the very heart of Whitehall, where everyone is trying to get through to the King.

“The Bottle Yard’s Tank House 2 studio had the ideal height and scale to accommodate our Whitehall Palace build [while] the inner chambers of Catherine Parr’s world…formed the composite set in The Bottle Yard’s Export Warehouse stage.

The period setting was filmed in Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios (Pic:STARZ)

Laura Aviles, the Senior Film Manager from Bristol City Council, found the “utterly magnificent” sets created in the city’s studio can take you to another world.

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.”

You can watch Becoming Elizabeth this Sunday, on STARZPlay - available on Prime Video.