Leeds, UK has many draws—from its restaurants and nightlife, to its beautiful parks and historical areas. In fact, did you know some famous movies and TV shows have been shot in Leeds? Yes! In fact, Leeds has been called “Britain’s Hollywood” for this very reason.
Why is Leeds a Popular Place to Make Movies & TV Shows?
Leeds is located in Yorkshire, which is a county in the UK that sits at the northern tip of the country. Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK. This county is a draw for movies and films due to its lovely countryside, which features everything from the Pennine Mountains, to moors and valleys. The beautiful scenery and varied terrain make the county a great choice for filmmakers.
Leeds is the largest city in Yorkshire and is known as one of Britain’s major cultural centers. Here, you’ll find wonderful historic settings that have made wonderful backdrops for film projects. Some of the most famous buildings in Leeds include the Leeds Corn Exchange, Leeds Town Hall, Harewood House and more. The area is a huge draw for historical films.
The First Movie was Shot in Leeds
Did you know the first film was made in Leeds? It was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. He had his family walk in a circle while he held a box, which was actually the camera. You can even watch the video—it’s about 2 seconds long and is the first silent film. The movie was made in Roundhay Park.
With this little bit of background, let’s take a look at some famous movies and TV shows that were filmed in Leeds. You may be surprised to learn they were filmed in this beautiful city and its surroundings.
Movies Filmed in Leeds
Here’s a list of movies filmed in Leeds—this isn’t an exhaustive list, but we hope you’ll find some familiar titles here!
1). The First Film (2015): directed by David Nicholas Wilkinson, this movie was produced to prove that the first film (by Louis Le Prince, in 1888) was the first ever movie made in the world. This feature length documentary sets out to clarify history and declaring Le Prince as the first filmmaker—preceding the Lumiere Brothers and Thomas Edison. The movie stars Bernard Atha, Stephane Cornicard and Tom Courtenay.
2). The Last Days of Edgar Harding (2011): the story is based on a man named Edgar Harding, who’s a world-famous rock band manager. He takes on a small band and when they’re about to be a hit, disaster strikes. They lose their edge and are determined to get it back by doing whatever is necessary. The movie was directed by Stephen Fox, and stars Richard Massara, Carolynne Poole and Daniel Sherman.
3). The Damned United: the plot of this biographical sports film deals with the hiring of Brian Clough as Leeds United team manager. Clough has a long dislike of the team, especially their dirty tricks and brutal moves on the field. He tris to implement his own managing style on the team, which later leads to problems with the team and the board. Clough only served as manager for about 44 days. The movie was directed by Tom Hooper, and stars Colm Meaney, Henry Goodman and David Roper.
4). King Ralph (1991): this cute rom-com is about an accident that causes the King’s demise, after which the country must find an heir to take his place. They find a guy named Ralph, who’s a bit down on his luck, has no manners and is a slob. On top of that, he’s an American—can he learn English ways and become a successful king? This movie was directed by David S. Ward, and stars John Goodman, Peter O’Toole, and John Hurt.
5). The King’s Speech (2010): when King George V takes up with American divorcee, Wallis Simpson and chooses to marry her, he is forced to abdicate the throne. His younger brother, Prince Albert, is second in line to the throne and has to take over the throne as King George VII. King George VII suffers from a stammer, and appears weak in the eyes of the country. However, under threat from Hitler, the King must learn to speak to the public. He hires a speech therapist, who helps him overcome his stammer and deliver one of the most important speeches of his reign. The director was Tom Hooper, and the movie stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter.
6). The Hunter’s Prayer (2017): this thriller takes on the story of an assassin hired to kill a young woman. He’s unable to kill her, which leads them both to be marked for death. As the assassin and young woman come together, they’re chased across Europe. Their only hope for survival is to expose the people who killed the young woman’s family. The movie was directed by Jonathan Mostow and stars Sam Worthington, Odeya Rush and Allen Leech.
TV Shows Filmed in Leeds
You’d be surprised by the high number of TV shows that have been filmed in Leeds. Here are some you may recognise.
1). 3-2-1 (1978-1988): this iconic game show was only meant to provide a filler during the summer months; however, it soon became a hit. The show ran for 10 years and had as many as 16 million viewers when aired on Saturday nights. The host of this popular game show was Ted Rogers.
2). At Home with the Braithwaites (2000-2003): this comedy-drama series was created and written by Sally Wainwright, with the story following a suburban Leeds family that wins the lottery. The show as also aired in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, the U.S., Hong Kong, Finland and Israel. The series stars include Amanda Redman, Peter Davison, Sarah Smart, Sarah Churm.
3). Drifters (2013-2016): this sitcom follows three girls, two cousins and their friend, who go to university in Leeds, and then live in Leeds after graduation. The girls share a flat and go through many adventures dealing with life in general, along with their love lives. The series stars Jessica Knappett, Lydia Rose Bewley, and Lauran O’Rourke.
As you can see, Leeds and the surrounding area have become a hot bed for films and TV shows of all types. The city continues to grow its reputation within the film industry. Many of the movies feature locals, so if you’re in Leeds some time, perhaps you can start your movie career as an extra—who knows–it’s worth a try!
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.