With the recent news of Tom Cruise filming in Oxford University for The Mummy 4, at Oxford’s Walking Tours, as part of Footprints Tours, we look at recent films and television shows that managed to film locations in an institution notoriously difficult to gain access to.
ITV’s Inspector Morse can be seen as Oxford University’s biggest fan. As Oxford’s most famous detective, the 1987-200 long running show has since used many locations within the institution. Amongst its most famous include: Trinity College; The Sheldonian Quad; Bodleian Library; Divinity School; Magdalen College; and Radcliffe Square. Its popular prequel, Endeavour, finished airing its fourth series this January. Endeavour managed to gain access to the same locations as its predecessor. These included Exeter College and Radcliffe Square. However, it also added the Bridge of Sights and Keble College to Morse’s long list of Oxford locations.
Whilst ITV’s Morse, Endeavour, and Lewis are widely recognised in the UK, there are many other internationally recognised films that have been filmed in Oxford’s prestigious university. Harry Potter, in particular, featured many colleges in its eight films. For example, Harry visited The Bodleian Library often in The Philosophers Stone when searching out information about the aforementioned stone in his invisibility cloak. Christ Church was also a popular filming location. Its top and bottom stairways were used in the first few films. However, despite not filming there, Christ Church’s Great Hall was also used as the inspiration behind Hogwart’s Dining Room studio set!
Other blockbusters, like Brideshead Revisited, featured Radcliffe Square, Lincoln College, Magdalen College, and Merton College. Although it is obvious why films closely associated to the university in their plots, such as An Education and The History Boys, would want to film in the university, there are also some surprising entries to our list. In particular, Tomorrow Never Dies used Brasenose College and and New College as the background to Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond learning the language of Danish. Another surprising entry includes 2011’s X Men: First Class. They used The Sheldonian Theatre as backdrop for when Xaviar becomes a professor.
Despite the rigorous process when applying for filming rights, Oxford University has still granted permission to a wide range of films over the years. So, if you’re feeling lucky, next time you’re in Oxford keep an eye out for some Hollywood film stars. You may even run into Tom Cruise!
[Sources: Location Oxfordshire, Oxford University, Oxford Mail, Movie Locations, Oxford City Guide, & IMDB. Images: Oxford Mail and Suitquais Diaries]0