A Career in the Pictures
Shakespeare fell in love here; Lady Jane Grey awaited her doom within these walls; and here was sown the seeds of the French Revolution.
You could call it history in the making. As a hardworking castle, Broughton has won starring roles in many films, of which several are of the royal variety, such as The Madness of King George (1994), based on the play by Alan Bennett, starring Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren.
In the award-winning Shakespeare in Love (1998), the actor Joseph Fiennes stalks his lady love played by Gwyneth Paltrow, only to be chased away by guard dogs through the arches of the gatehouse. The actors Joseph Fiennes and Ralph Fiennes are related to the family living at Broughton Castle. Their late father, Mark Fiennes, took all of the photographs used in the Castle guidebook (and many on this website). We are all descended from Frederick, the 16th Lord Saye & Sele, who died in 1887.
In the Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) , Anthony Andrews rescues innocent aristocrats from the guillotine and there is a firing squad execution in the Ladies' garden at Broughton.
There are soaring helicopter shots of the castle for Three Men and a Little Lady (1987) starring Tom Selleck. Much of the film was shot around Banbury.
There was quite a stir within the castle walls when topless nuns paraded on the front lawn for Tony Richardson's well-received Joseph Andrews (1976), starring Peter Firth and Ann-Margret (as Lady Booby – the character's name should have given us a clue).
Lady Jane (1986) was the Trevor Nunn film that gave a young Helena Bonham Carter the break which eventually led to her best remembered role as Lucy Honeychurch in EM Forster's A Room With A View.
Film-makers gave both the castle and my sister a bit part in The Slipper and the Rose (1976), a Cinderella remake.
And then of course, like any actor, the castle moonlights on television, with stints in programmes as diverse as Noel Edmonds' House Party, the BBC's Timewatch series and the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special.
Timewatch photograph is from Lady Saye's private collection. Thumbnails are from publicity posters.