Filming in Adur and Worthing
Adur and Worthing has a fine heritage when it comes to film, with some of the first moving images in the UK projected and created right on our own doorstep.
The first movie ever shown commercially in West Sussex was screened in 1896 in the Pavilion at the southern end of Worthing Pier. A couple of years later in Spring 1898, the 'father of film making', William Dickson, made a series of seven short films in the town. A game of water polo in the Heene Baths featured in one of the films, making the Worthing Swimming Club one of the first sports teams in the world to appear in a movie.
British movie-makers soon began to recognise the attraction of our part of Sussex, and the first of these was the scenic artist Francis Lyndhurst, grandfather of the actor Nicholas Lyndhurst. He founded the Sunny South Film Company and made his first professional movie film on Shoreham Beach in 1912, followed by a further four titles over the next two years.
In 1915 he purchased land at Shoreham Beach to build a giant 75ft by 45ft glass film studio, which relied on sunlight rather than electricity for lighting, after hearing Sussex's reputation for more hours of sunlight than elsewhere in Britain. Although the business failed, The Progress Film Company arrived in 1920, with Walter Morgan as its Principal Director. His daughter Joan Morgan, one of the leading stars at the Glasshouse Studio in the 1920s, is commemorated on Shoreham Beach at the Sustrans Portrait Bench near to the Adur Ferry Bridge.
One of the most notable big screen films last century to be filmed in our area was Wish You Were Here (1987), which included locations such the iconic Dome cinema, the over-walk on the south side of Beach House, shops in Rowland’s Road, the Southdown Bus Depot (now Stagecoach) and a residential property in York Road.
In more recent years, filming in our area has steadily increased in popularity with further box office hits including The Da Vinci Code (2006), Woman in Gold (2015) and Stan and Ollie (2018) using locations in Adur and Worthing within the filming of their productions.
In 2015, Adur & Worthing Councils assisted the BBC with filming for their police drama series 'Cuffs', which used the Adur Civic Centre, Worthing Town Hall and Colonnade House as locations for the eight part mini series. This helped to showcase Adur and Worthing, leading to Walkers crisps, McDonald's Monopoly competition and Sainsbury's supermarket featuring our towns within their adverts.
During 2018 when the Councils' began our partnership with Sussex Film Office, we attracted TV shows including Flirty Dancing (C4), Mother, Father, Son (BBC), Cheat (ITV), Hypothetical (Dave) and Perfect Ten (BBC Film).
Through our film partner, filmmakers have continued to request use of our locations for their productions.
As well as starring in some top television adverts, a variety of fashion photo-shoots, and a good number of television programmes, our locations have been showcased in a few more big screen films including 'My Policeman' with Harry Styles and Emma Corrin, 'Empire of Light' with Olivia Colman and Colin Firth, and 'Living' with Bill Nighy.
Most recently Olivia Colman returned to Worthing to film 'Wicked Little Letters' with Timothy Spall and Eileen Atkins.
We welcome enquiries and applications for all types of filming across our towns. Whilst we love seeing our hometowns starring on the big screen (and the silver screen) we also encourage other types of film and photography, from students creating masterpieces for their degrees to local businesses using our locations as the backdrop for their next marketing campaign.
If you would like to discuss your next filming project or you would like some more information about filming here in Adur and Worthing, please contact our Place and Economy team (firstname.lastname@example.org, 01903 221304), or make an enquiry through our filming partner, Sussex Film Office:
If you already know where and when you would like to film on council-owned land in Adur or Worthing, please make an application through Sussex Film Office:
So that we are able to give the best service to our producers, filmmakers, photographers and all film persons in between, Adur & Worthing Councils are now working with 'Sussex Film Office'. We can provide advice on filming in our locations and assistance with applications to gain permission to film. By working closely together, we offer an efficient and effective service using accessible and simple working practices, ultimately boosting our local economy.
If you need some further help to find your perfect location, or you are looking for local crew or suppliers for your filming project, please get in touch with:
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Place & Economy Team
Page last updated: 29 November 2022