A-LIST actors filmed scenes from the smash-hit Netflix drama The Crown at an upmarket Brockenhurst Hotel, it has been revealed.
Helena Bonham-Carter was among the stars who stayed at Rhinefield House Hotel as up to 90 crew members filmed there for two-and-a-half days.
The production also decamped to the Forest close to the hotel, where a huge outdoor marquee was spotted and extras were seen milling about around a host of classic cars.
Rhinefield House Hotel general manager Jeff Ward confirmed to the A&T 19 cast members stayed at the hotel and the team shot scenes in the hotel interior and around its outdoor pool for an episode of the upcoming season three of the show.
“It was very exciting for the staff and the guests, who were able to see quite a few of the cast. One lady in particular was having her 80th birthday and recognised one of the major stars – who came over and wished her a happy birthday and made her day,” he said.
Critically lauded, The Crown is a biographical drama depicting the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the first two seasons have already aired on Netflix. Series three and four, which chart the monarch’s reign from 1964 to 1976, are currently in production and being filmed back-to-back.
The episodes will be available to Netflix subscribers in 2019 and the Queen will be played by Olivia Colman, who has taken over the role from Claire Foy.
Mr Ward added: “It was a very lucrative piece of business and very beneficial for the hotel. It’s an amazing venue and no surprise people are inspired to use it for their productions. It was very much something they wanted to keep very quiet at the time it happened.”
He explained he was contacted out of the blue earlier this year by a member of The Crown’s production team, who had spotted the hotel had an outdoor pool on its website. Four meetings later with three location managers and the filming was set up.
Furniture was changed around the hotel to make it look like the 1970s, Mr Ward said, adding: “Apparently the hotel was used as the site of a Scottish Balmoral venue – so it was nothing to do with the New Forest. They filmed mostly around the outdoor pool but inside as well.”
Mr Ward explained he had previously facilitated the filming of an episode of EastEnders when he worked at a hotel in St Albans.
“Filming [in a hotel] is not something that can be taken lightly. It’s quite major league what they have to do. Having done it in the past at a previous venue I do know it is not for the faint-hearted as the disruption can be massive if you are not used to it.”
It was first time Rhinefield had hosted the crew of a major production, Mr Ward said, adding that since the production team from BBC show Escape to the Country had also filmed there.
The news was welcomed by Cllr Michael Harris – the district council’s cabinet member for local economic development, property and innovation.
He has led NFDC’s partnership with Creative England, established in 2016 to attract more commercial film crews to the Forest to bring in funding, increase the district’s profile and boost tourism.
Since its launch, the initiative has proved hugely successful. Parts of the latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise Solo: A Star Wars Story and Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation was shot at Fawley Power Station, while filming for ITV drama series Unforgotten happened at Lymington Quay.
“It’s been very successful,” Cllr Harris told the latest Brockenhurst Parish Council meeting. “We are now into the third year of our partnership and the figures show more than £2m has been spent on film and television production in the New Forest since the beginning.”
Rhinefield House Hotel bills itself as “a fairy-tale wedding venue” on its website and has existed in its present form since around 1880.
It has 50 bedrooms, including three feature suites, an outdoor pool and a small health suite and also boasts a double AA Rosette fine dining Armada restaurant.
The Great House that dominates the venue was designed by architects Romaine-Walker and Tanner of London to incorporate a mixture of Tudor and Gothic styles, while the Grand Hall inside has many features of Westminster Hall.