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May 2017: Regency Brighton and Hove

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Mrs Brown

Year: 1997
Director: John Madden
Cast: Judi Dench , Billy Connolly , Geffrey Palmer, Antony Sher , Gerald Butler, Richard Pasco, David Westhead.
Set Locations:
Southern England: Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and Wilton House nr Salisbury in Wiltshire.

London: Lincoln Inns Fields off Holborn.
John Madden's 1997 film 'Mrs Brown' explores a side of Queen Victoria that is not traditionally portrayed. Following the death of Prince Albert , Queen Victoria is somewhat depressed and finds comfort in a Scottish servant named John Brown. At the time there were many rumours, possible emanating from those jealous of Brown's influence and favour with the Queen, of some impropriety in the relationship between the two.

The presence of potential scandal bubbled constantly under the surface, sometimes boiling over in the form of political cartoons in popular publications. Queen Victoria is seen to withdraw from her public duties due to her depressed state and this is something that Brown initially encourages. The relationship is soured later when Prime Minister Benjamin Disreali schemes to get Brown to persuade Victoria back to her public duties. This causes something of a rift in the relationship and things are never quite the same again.

There is a suggestion in the film that the period weakened the position of the monarchy and increased the power of Parliament.

Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria and Scottish comedian Billy Connolly plays John Brown. It is a film that saw Dench win BAFTA, BAFTA Scotland and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress category. Dame Dench was also nominated for an Oscar in the same category. Connolly also received nominations for BAFTA and BAFTA Scotland awards in the Best Actor category.

The Arverikie Estate in the Highlands of Scotland features in the film, the Estate is about 12 miles from Kingussie in Scotland and was also the base for the filming of the popular TV series 'Monarch of the Glen'. Another location in Scotland that features is Duns Castle at Duns in the Scottish Borders territory. This historic house has parts which are almost 700 years old. The house was transformed in the early 19th century into a Gothic style Castle. There are two man-made lakes at the Castle, Hen Poo and Mill Dam. The house is often used for weddings and functions.

The Luton Hoo Estate near Luton in England, now a country house hotel, is another grand backdrop for the film. There have been a number of houses built on this location over the course of the past millennium, work on the current one commenced in 1767 from designs by architect Robert Adam. Another magnificent mansion designed by Robert Adam that also featured in the film is Osterley Park in Isleworth, West London.

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On this day:
Bolton Massacre - 1644, First indoor swimming pool opens - 1742, First Isle of Man TT Race - 1907
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