Major Feature Film Currently Shooting on Location at Highclere Castle
We are delighted to announce that filming has started on a major science fiction cinematic release at Highclere Castle. We are not allowed to give too much away at this stage but have been busy with crew and engineers working out which locations work best with the more unusual script . In fact we are at the moment in meetings with structural engineers as to how to land a spaceship safely on the Castle roof. Our Castle Manager John Gundill has been testing all ladders and light hatches for risk assessments. We are looking forward to sharing more news as the project goes public but it seems incredibly fitting to host this at a time of such incredible achievements in space! It is of course a move away from period dramas but my husband and I will make a special guest appearance as storm troopers back from Edwardian times.
The idea of time travel, which we have all so enjoyed through the fictional worlds of Dr Who or Star Trek can again be explored and where better than through the Real Downton Abbey. Whether looking forward to the future or reflecting on the past, it reminds me how special it is to share history through buildings and to safeguard Highclere for future generations.
We have included the sky and outer space around Highclere in the location deal as well as providing landing areas for spaceships in the Secret Garden, although being secret, it might be hard to identify.
In the meantime we hope you enjoy the Easter holidays.
This is and was, of course, an April Fool’s joke in honour of April Fool’s Day…
April 1st has been set aside as day for pranks since at least the time of Geoffrey Chaucer. At school I remember that we were only supposed to make April fool jokes until midday. Once your nonsensical story was found out, the “April Fool” passed it on to the next person. In the past, newspapers and TV have often published a prank story for all to enjoy. A famous BBC one was when Panorama apparently showed Italian farmers picking spaghetti from trees. Separate from today’s debate on the ethics of fake news, such mad stories can be taken with humour (better for the health!) and act as entertainment.
The problem can be that not everyone finds it as funny as others. I learnt the hard way whilst at university that I had to think through the consequences of any practical joke. It was a balance of not going beyond a line and there was some trial and effort on my part. I once sent a letter to one of my flatmates purportedly from a leading local 5* hotel saying that the university tennis team had recommended him to be the top instructor at the hotel over the holidays. It would be well paid and could he come for an interview in two weeks’ time. Of course my flatmate practiced, talked about it, ironed his clothes while about 12 of us knew my side of the “prank.” On the due day, smartly dressed in a cream linen jacket, he arrived for the interview. Rather a lot of us were hiding behind the potted plants in the hotel foyer. I felt rather nervous – for myself I think. The hotel was slightly bemused as it was a golf hotel and had no tennis courts. Without doubt, the cocktail bar helped and my flatmate took it remarkably well – after a couple of cocktails. A kind man, if not necessarily entirely happy at that point!!!
This year April Fool’s Day coincided with the most important day in the Christian calendar – the day of the resurrection, a day of joy, Paschen, the day of the Passover. There are various different ways of celebrating Easter Sunday from sunrise church services, to matins and holy communion and then in popular fashion to Easter Eggs and the Easter bunny. Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb – Jesus had left the tomb where he was laid after his death and rose to heaven but I am not sure what the bunny is supposed to stand for. Nevertheless, for our own Easter Egg hunt for the NSPCC, Paul, who enthusiastically multi-tasks at Highclere, dressed up as the Easter Bunny, waistcoat included.
The word Easter is derived from the festival of Eostre, a German and Scandinavian derivation of the word dawn. Eostre was honoured in springtime as she represented fertility and new life. The month of April was actually called Eostremonath in Anglo-Saxon times meaning growing light. It has been a very muddy winter, mostly cold or wet, so the idea of growing light is most appealing.
Ha ha very good Happy Easter
Landing coordinates for UFOS too – Happy Easter
I believed you really! You had me going. I love your blog.
Thank you !
Haha. I believed you!! Hope you had a wonderful Easter.
Ha Ha – Be careful what you wish for!
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I’ve been dying to know what the interior of the Great Tower is like. Does it have a staircase that ascends to rooms? Or is it sort of like a folly and only there for it’s grand exterior effect? Either way it’s fabulous. My Bronte fantasies are piqued by the Great Tower (and the smaller ones at the corners of the house too).
The Tower is amazing – the views and peace… ornate ceilings and linen fold doors
Stunning indeed! Easter Blessings ruth
Dear Lord and Lady Carnarvon,
Just a thought before filming starts. Has your Castle Manager contacted the Civil Aviation Authority about this? Also the Air Traffic Controllers at Heathrow will need to be informed. Accelerating the spaceship to light speed will need to have clearance.
Very good, sensible thoughts
Haha! Happy April Fool’s Day and Happy Easter to the Carnarvon family, Storm Troopers and all! You had me there for a minute….lol. Thanks for being the first and undoubtedly the very best prank of my day. Loved it! : )Patti Miller, Victoria, B.C.
An original April Fool !
Thrilled to hear it! Can’t wait to see it! I love space movies.
Happy Easter to you all!
The Woodlands, Texas
I just saw a real life UFO here in Tucson, Arizona about 3 weeks ago! I hope you have a great time with this experience. Your blog is always so interesting, exciting and unpredictable!
April Scherz Frohe Ostern aus Deutschland ❤
Is it possible to register interest in being an extra? Daughter is training in performing arts at Kingsclere and would love to get involved?
What fun! Happy Easter to you!!
Ha! Got me until the “storm trooper” line! Well played!
Ha ha thats great! Happy Easter to you.
And April Fools 🙂
Umm, does the date play any part in this news?
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
While I am glad to hear that this venture will bring in some funds for the continuance of the estate, I am not sure about spaceships hovering around Carson’s and Mrs Hughes domain! Having said that, I would get a kick out of seeing you and your husband defending your own castle! I hope it is a huge success.
Hope you are all enjoying a beautiful Easter Day,
Happy April Fool’s Day! Great prank on us!
Easter Blessings to you and yours! Spring and Easter have blossomed.
Happy Easter & April Fools to all at your lovely home
Brilliant! Happy Easter to you and your family. Lorraine.xx
April April – Happy Easter Lady Carnarvon 🙂 <3 <3
WOW! How exciting! Can’t wait to see Highclere in yet another starring role!
Ha ha! How clever! I recently saw a stage production of Hamlet with Star Wars Stormtroopers, so you got me, Lady Carnarvon. Happy April Fool’s Day too!
I totally believed it, and was going to tell my family of guys, until I was two comment above mine.
I totally believed it, and was going to tell my family of guys, until I saw the comment above mine.
A very Happy Easter to you and Lord Carnavon
Best wishes for the new film
Happy April Fools Day
April Fools perhaps
Happy 1st of April! Foolsday? 😉
Fiddlesticks! I was excited about a movie I would actually go see .. until the Stormtroopers walk on by Lord and Lady Carnarvon!
Maybe we will just have to write one for real!
Thank you for the smiles… Happy Easter and April 1st 😉
Just ha ha.
Happy Easter to you and your family from Japan, the other side of the world… ❤
Thank you – Happy Easter
You had me for bit until the outfits at the end, stormtrooper are Star Wars only. Happy Easter & a delightful April Fools Day.
Ah….a “let’s see if diehard Downton fans have a sense of humour” moment?
A peculiarly British sense of humour, but Highclere /Downton is peculiarly British!
I loved it, David…but really – would Carson approve? 😉
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I thought you were going to tell us that Highclere was sucked up into the space ship, now that would be a Movie. Smile thanks for a great April fools joke, but above all you and your family have a Happy and Blessed Easter. Desiree Creary.
Brilliant post for April Fools day. Happy Easter and may God bestow many blessings upon you and Highclere in the future
Happy Easter, thank you
I totally believed this! You are such a convincing writer! Happy Easter to you and Lord Carnavon.
Some of my first drafts were so outrageous – but in the end I had to be fractionally believable for a moment!
And I believed it all, hahaha;)
Happy Easter to you. How neat to have a science fiction picture now filming at HighClerc. You and your husband sure look quite cool in your outfits. Hats off to you for always coming up with new ideas to keep your great castle, also your home going. Thank you for preserving it for future generations.
Happy Easter……..and what s splendid April Fools Day spoof.
Wow! Maybe the winner(s) of the Come and Dine contest will be able to meet the cast on the front lawn. I’m getting my light saber polished up, just in case! Now where did I put my Storm Trooper outfit?
Happy April Fools Day
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Happy Easter and applause fora very nice April Fools Day prank, that I almost didn’t appreciate; having not received your blog until the 2nd April, Australian Eastern Time.
Talking (as you did) of ‘time travel’, I personally take this opportunity to convey to your good self and all fellow bloggers on different meridians and still living in the 1st April, a very Happy, Holy and Peaceful Easter to each and every one of you and your loved ones.
I tried to publish early..time travel!
Happy April Fool’s! and Happy Easter!
Are you Storm Troopers collecting eggs with the kiddies today?
May you have a most enjoyable day!
And watch out for a falling Chinese Space Station!
Ha…Happy April Fools Day!
Love this! Glad to see you are having fun with the rarity of Easter Fool’s Day.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
Made me smile. A Happy Easter to you and all your family and friends. Wish I was there !
At first, I’m thinking what a shame…..Highclere should not stoop to anything but Period Entertainment…..then….wham! And HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY to us! Ha ha…
Oh, you had us all going there for a moment! Fully expected to see you both dressed in full chain mail, but the blasters are a nice touch. Two poissons d’avril!
My husband, Mother in law and I visited Highclere today and Lord Vader and his stormtroopers were indeed storming the “castle’. We had a fabulous time and this is one of the most beautiful stately homes we have ever had the pleasure to visit. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to see your beautiful home.
Thank you – they were fun!
from Sandie in whitefish montana
duh, i am always a bit slow …is this REALLY an April Fools Day joke?
i was really looking forward to a sci-fi film at Highclere
I would not mind it all…
On a serious note, the photo at the top of your post is stunningly beautiful. And I am NOT fooling about that!
Happy Easter and Happy April Fool’s Day to all at Highclere.
You two are having too much fun! Happy Easter!
Must be Star Wars 9 that is in production now. The costumes gave you up! How exciting!! Happy Easter.
Gee…you had me going! I was just ready to read it all to my husband, Mr. Sci-Fi!
Happy Easter and Happy April Fool’s Day!
Waiting, waiting, waiting for REAL info on upcoming Downton Abbey news!
That would be so heavenly ..
I always knew that Highclere Castle along with Lord and Lady Carnarvon were “out of this world.”
I was thinking. “Cool, a Dr. Who episode”! A few seconds later I was rudely awakened by my brain, when it said “APRIL FOOL”! Well done you! And Happy Easter!
It would be cool!!1
You really got me going… Before even finding out that it was a April Fools prank, I was off thinking, how will she incorporate this into the next Come and Dine?
You really got me. I thought the movie was real until my friend who I forwarded this to reminded me what day it is. I’m so embarrassed!
On the other hand, why not a Sci fi movie at Downton? Sounds great!
“Ha,ha! You really had me fooled. Still, I think you might have stumbled upon a hit television series. May the force be with you on that one. All kidding aside, Happy Resurrection day. Really enjoy your correspondence.
Edith from Naperville, IL.
Thank you – I agree – my next career – scriptwriter…
We were so thrilled to be at Highclere last year for Easter with our young son. It was a highlight of our time living abroad and certainly made Easter back in the states seem even less exciting than prior years. Hope to visit again in the future!
Do come back!
I was excited that they were filming a major motion picture at your castle. Too fun!
Such fun! So focused on Resurrection Day celebrations, I was easily duped by both you and my son, this evening! As I gazed at the Storm Trooper-clad Carnarvans, the lightbulb above my head flickered and finally went on! Great job!!
Hello my name is Tilda
I’m at Highclere now. And if its possible I would really like to meet you and take a picture with you.
I traveled from Sweden
Where Are You now?
I’m going to be here during the afternoon
Kind regards Tilda
Before we have any Millennium Falcon Spaceships coming that landing strip needs too be cleared and cleaned my the head of the Metal Detecting department and the Highclere plane finders team need to see all passes 🙂 Yesterday’s Easter day hunt was one of those fantastic days we have at Highclere where you are doing work in and around the Castle that is not on your CV and loving every minute of it, being someone else and having my photo with everyone who came to our fantastic day 🙂
Easter Bunny 🙂
Nice one! Had me fooled! A blessed Easter to you all.
Your shoes is untied! Your zipper is down! Your slip is showing, and everyone is expecting the the Easter Rabbi today! We’re headed to the chicken house for an egg hunt! I hope the ladies were notified to lay them hard boiled and decorated today! Easter dinner at Highclere Castle today with the Qveen, casual attire! Don’t forget your manners! For an English lass, your quite the corker, Lady Fiona! Our Easter Egg roll is today at the White House. The Golden Egg has a big T stamped on it. We’re not sure why? What language does the Easter Bunny speak today? Tweet Tweet!!
How did you come up with such an amazing story line? I was already thinking about a reply that it was fitting that such a movie would be made at the place where “time stands still” when I realized that this seemed a little odd and out of character. Hope you all had a great Easter!
Happy Easter! You had me fooled! But, seriously, I appreciated this line: “Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb – Jesus had left the tomb where he was laid after his death and rose to heaven…” So important to remember the connection between the eggs and Jesus – thank you for that explanation.
I read the blog yesterday morning, and thought that was great news for you and Highclere. I was just telling my daughters about it when my 18 year old reminded me that it was April Fools Day yesterday.
No! This was real! They are testing the roof to see if it can hold the weight of a UFO. There was even a picture of Lord and Lady Carnarvon dresses as Storm Troopers…..
At this point, my three adult daughters are laughing hard. I am scrambling for my phone to pull up your blog.
We are all laughing now. I was completely fooled-utterly and completely.
Well done, Lady Carnarvon.
Highclere, Downton Abbey, and your blog are well enjoyed in our home.
Who knew you had a great sense of humor on top of it all?
Apparently my daughters did!
May God bless you and the whole Highclere family!
Just a bit of useless funny information, the license plate of my car is LOST UFO !!!
Best April Fools SpoofNews EVER!
You really had us all from the start…hahahahaha. Lady Carnarvon, you are truly a master of the written word; however, it may be difficult to outdo yourself next year. Hopping that all future Easter celebrations at Highclere will be as delightful as this one appeared to be for ‘everybunny’ including any out of space guests.
Oh dear, I’m afraid I can’t be enthusiastic about a space ship landing on Highclere Castle!! We just finished watching Downton Abbey again! Poor old Carson would faint dead away. Although, I must say I think Henry Talbot and Tom Branson and perhaps even Lord Grantham would find it quite intriguing! I do wish you great success in your new venture. (laughing!) A great lead in to your April Fool’s joke. Very convincing. Well done!
I love the last photo of you with the new lambs! I have friends travelling around the English countryside just now, and lambs are popping up everywhere in her photos! What a delightful time to be there. I do hope for your sake and theirs it warms up a bit soon. It has been unseasonable cold here in America, too, even in the mid south where we live. And a belated Happy Easter. Thank you so much for sharing all of this.
Best wishes to you and all of the new lambs (and their mothers!),
We came on the 1st april for the easter egg hunt especially from France and we spent a wonderful day; thank you for this great day it was for us like a dream .
Hope to come back!
I am glad you enjoyed it!
You totally got me Layd Carnarvon! I had forgot about April 1st I read it today… LOL!
At first I thought “A secret Dr. Who movie?”. Then I saw the Stormtrooper photo and thought “Well, she’s not great at keeping a secret.”
So, yes, I was fooled. Well done.
Happy, belated, Easter from Canada.
I had just woken up, grabbed my iPad, and there it was. Finally my worlds had collided. SciFi and Downton, time travel and, wait, what? She didn’t just do that. My moment of hope to bring my husband David to Highclere…me for the Carnarvons/Downton, and he for his Dr. Who-esque visit. Hm. Oh well. Ha…it was great. Cracked up the whole family!
Trust you all had a very Happy Easter! And more shenanigans. Miss you all!
I’m a few days late, but I must mention how glad I am to learn this post was an April Fools joke. I was quite concerned about the weight of “spaceship” prop on the castle, and imagined that Lord Carnarvon must be losing sleep over the entire debacle. Glad to know that he can rest easy.
He had to read it and was surprised as you!!!
You lived in a very beautiful castle
It’s was so much fun to meet you
At Highclere Castle
Thank you – it is lovely although challenging at times!!!
We were blessed to be guests at Highclere on Easter. My husband was so excited to get a photo with the Star Wars crew! Seeing the estate, home, and Egyptian exhibit was such a joy! You are so gracious to let us into your beautiful home. We also dined on scones and tea…lovely! Thank you for a day to remember!
Oh my, hah! Good one! I already had my office phone in hand, preparing to call PR to ask what film project we had sanctioned to have Stormtroopers, since we do not currently have a film in production! Then I scrolled down, and crisis averted, LOL. You tricked me, I love it!
You may have figured out that I work for Lucasfilm here in San Francisco! I am amused at the idea of a plot that would have our Star Wars characters mingling amongst the beauty and grandeur of Highclere, that would be a very unusual sight in the Star Wars universe, for sure!
I love the picture of the Stormtroopers on your lawn, I assume that it must be a squadron of our beloved 501st legion volunteers, who work various charity events around the world. They look so striking with the castle in the background!
Thank you for the laugh!
Thank you – how very funny – I was crying with laughter when I wrote this blog!
In all honesty, they are some amazing volunteers and this photo was from an event when we were supporting a children’s hospice. They are great guys and give such pleasure to families, I am very grateful to them. They also tried to arrest the real policemen who were here on the day… to much laughter on all sides.
You had me there for a bit!
My son & I had a wonderful time visiting your house last summer. Thank you for having us!
I am glad!
Thank you for coming – glad I nearly got you!!!