12th July, 2017
Our little island produces some great T.V., and many of our recent series have shot to global fame – we firmly believe that great stories and great landscape are a winning combination. Here are some of our favourites…
Perhaps the most quintessentially English of them all, Midsomer Murders is a crime drama set in the very green and pleasant fictional county of Midsomer. It has been running since 1997, and is a staple of British television, perfectly encapsulating the British sense of humour and way of life. Midsomer isn’t just a fantasy however, and is directly based on the picture postcard villages and little country lanes of the Chilterns. Most filming is done around Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and anyone with a little local knowledge can pick out the locations that make up the villages of Midsomer. We at the Carter Company are fortunate to be based right in the middle of Midsomer Murders country, and live amongst the little villages, the fields and farms, and the beautiful countryside. If you want to sample this yourself, consider our Whistle-stop Thames or Chilterns tour, or our Riverside Ride from Oxford.
A much darker crime drama than the light-hearted Midsomer Murders, Broadchurch rose to global acclaim for its portrayal of life in a troubled seaside town. The struggles of the locals, initially following the death of a young boy, are set against the dramatic landscape of the Dorset coast. Showrunner Chris Chibnall created the name Broadchurch by combining the names of Dorset hamlets Broadoak and Whitchurch. The show, starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, has won several BAFTAs, and has drawn an enormous fan base. Its popularity has caused it to be adapted into both an American and a French version; the success of these remains to be seen, as it is the phenomenal Dorset coastline that gives Broadchurch its power - we can’t imagine an opening sequence without the tall white cliffs and crashing waves of the fierce and beautiful English coast. Our tours around Dorset offer the opportunity to see this dramatic landscape up close, particularly our Dorset Beaches and the New Forest tour.
Downtown Abbey is another British production that has enjoyed unprecedented popularity around the world. It is period drama at its best, offering viewers a window into the lives of those in the household of the Crawley family, the fictional Earls of Grantham. Downtown Abbey has been filmed in various locations in Southern England; Highclere Castle in North Hampshire is used for the main house, and the charming Oxfordshire village of Bampton forms the village of Downton. Despite primarily being filmed in the South of England, in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, the fictional Downton is supposedly based in North Yorkshire. For those searching for the Downton Abbey experience, we suggest our Oxford and Thames Royal Palaces tour, which features the stunning houses and castles that inspired Downton Abbey. We love showing people the best of English heritage, and in true Downtown style, we can take you through the great houses of our aristocratic history.
Inspector Morse and Lewis
Both Inspector Morse, and its successor Lewis, are filmed around Oxford, showing off the ‘city of dreaming spires’ and one of the world’s oldest university. The original series, Inspector Morse, followed Morse and his sergeant Robert Lewis around Oxford in a series that ran from 1987 to 2000. When John Thaw, who played Morse, passed away, the show recreated itself with Lewis as the main character. The show finally retired in 2015, with Kevin Whately (Lewis) having played the role for almost 30 years. The British public were very disappointed to lose such a T.V. classic, and so, in 2014, another spinoff was declared: Endeavor, following the career of the young Morse. These shows are a must watch for anyone planning on visiting Oxford – they act as a travelogue of the city, taking the viewer around the ancient colleges and the stunning streets, through all the historic nooks and crannies of one of England’s finest cities. We have a variety of tours around Oxford, all of which will give you the opportunity to explore with a Carter Company twist.
Another brilliant period drama, BBC’s Poldark is based on a series of books by Winston Graham. The show follows Captain Poldark’s (Aiden Turner) struggles to repair his reputation and estate after returning from the American War of Independence. The series is based in Cornwall, and captures the county’s rugged grandeur. Our tour, Coastal Adventures in Devon and Cornwall, will show you the dramatic countryside that makes Poldark so powerful. From towering cliffs, to charming hamlets and blissful beaches, the Cornish coast offers both history and nature. It is a chance to enjoy some of the wild parts of England, and to indulge in some of the best views in the world. Cycle and picnic along the clifftops, or stand in the wind contemplating life like the series’ tragic hero.
(Photo credit BBC, 2017)