Written by Shona Smith on Nov 18, 2019. Posted in On Location

Mammoth Screen's adaptation of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds filmed on location in Liverpool

Set in London and the surrounding home counties Mammoth Screen's adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic science fiction novel stays true to the period Edwardian setting of the orginal novel, but substitutes southern locations in favour of doubles in the north-west of the UK. 

War of the Worlds follows George, played by Rafe Spall (Life of Pi, Black Mirror) and Amy, played by Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Death comes to Pemberley), as they attempt to start a life together against the backdrop of an alien invasion. The three part drama for BBC One doubled Liverpool and its surrounds for Edwardian London and the home counties.

Production began in early 2018 and took place across the Liverpool region, including Sefton and Wirral. Liverpool City Centre provided neoclassical architecture with the interior and exterior of St George’s Hall and Martin’s Bank featuring in the series, the first as the ‘admiralty’ in London city centre and the second as newspaper offices.

The first episode sees Martians landing on planet earth in a mysterious capsule. Ainsdale Woods Nature Reserve in Sefton served as the backdrop for these dramatic events, with clearing and felled trees used for added effect. According to the Liverpool Film Office, trees were painted black with biodegradable paint to create the impression of a burnt impact zone.

Elsewhere in Sefton, the observatory of Ogilvy, an astronomer and scientist whose experiments are key to fighting the alien forces was found at Sefton Park Palm House. Formby Beach in Sefton was a key location for the shoot.

Moreover, studio space was found in the region. Although Liverpool does not have a dedicated studio space, a pop-up space was found in the Wirral Waters’ former Mobil building, and provided space to create an apocalyptic red world. The roof was fitted with a lighting grid to make it fit for the production.

Director Craig Vivieros told Creative England “I found the film office and all of the crew to be so helpful. I think there’s a wealth of locations here that you just cannot find in any other local area within a County, in the UK…We believed that we would have to set up a package that would have to move from one place to the other and move the whole unit and find new crews, but no we found Liverpool & Cheshire and within this local area…I’ve been bowled over”.

Earlier in November, Liverpool Film Office announced the first recipient of its regional Film Fund as BBC Family adventure The Snow Spider. Much filming takes place in Liverpool for high end series such as Peaky Blinders and The Crown and the purpose of the film fund is to substantiate Liverpool's production infrastructure.

Liverpool Film Office and Creative England are exhibiting at FOCUS the meeting place for international production on the 3 & 4th December at the Business Design Centre, London. Click here to receive your free delegate badge.

Image Credits: BBC / Mammoth Screen

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