Film Crew Besieges Ely Cathedral

Image: Film Crew Besieges Ely Cathedral

If you live in Ely you will (probably) know that Ely Cathedral was chosen as major film location for Handmade Films and is currently being besieged by a film crew and a number of Hollywood’s elite actors for the new film Golden Age, the follow-up to the 1998 award-winning film Elizabeth (about the early years of Elizabeth I’s life and reign), is transforming Ely Cathedral’s 12th Century Lady Chapel to become the great hall of Whitehall Palace in Westminster, which was the centre of Government and state ceremonies as well as the Queen’s main home. They are also using the main nave of the 11th Century cathedral to double as buildings from Elizabeth’s reign, from 1558-1603.

Ely Online had hoped to show some photographs of this with the possibility of some interviews but it appears the film companies PR department had other ideas. Ely Cathedral’s Marketing Manager informed Ely Online: ‘Press Event is looking less likely at the moment since the film companies PR dept are not letting anyone in since some of the principal actors have requested that there are no members of the press/media on set’.

The Ely Cathedral website stated: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for both the Cathedral and the city of Ely’ said Stephen Wikner, the Cathedral Bursar – ‘We have had a number of meetings with the directors, producers and members of the crew and they are all highly respectful of the Cathedral, the building, its spiritualism and the fact that it is, first and foremost, a Christian place of worship.’

That said, Ely Online was suprised to see that Ely Cathedral was actually closed for 4 days to accommodate filming. Ely Online wasn’t aware that anyone had the right to close a place of worship for financial benefit.

Today the film crew was cleaning up and moving out to make way for the Open University graduation ceremony.

3 replies
  1. Danny Macpherson
    Danny Macpherson says:

    Hi, i was emailing as i heard from staff from Ely Cathedral that there is to be additional filming at ely some time in the near future. I am part of a media studies class at Hills Road SixTh Form College cambridge and a number of us would be willing to act as extras for the film if any additional people are needed.
    If you could reply that would be great, danny

  2. Stephen Wikner, Bursar
    Stephen Wikner, Bursar says:

    Ely Cathedral was closed during recent filming for three days not four. Acess to the Lady Chapel was restricted for somewhat longer. As a rule the building is open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. However from time to time special services or events mean that acess has to be curtailed or restricted. Some of these events are revenue generating.

    No church is obliged to stay open all the time. Indeed, sadly, many churches these days are closed except for Sunday services. During the nine days of filming for ‘The Golden Age’ Ely Cathedral did not lose a single act of worship although the times and precise locations of particular services sometimes had to be adjusted.

    It costs £3,000 a day to keep Ely Cathedral open and operational. Revenue to cover these costs has to be found if the building is to remain open. It is as starkly simple as that.

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