04:30PM, Friday 14 June 2019
Eagle-eyed viewers of Elton John’s biopic Rocketman might have spotted some local heritage in the fairground scenes.
Part of the musical biopic about Elton’s breakthrough years was filmed at Bray Studios using rides, games and stalls provided by Carters Steam Fair.
Joby Carter is the owner of the White Waltham-based travelling fair which has been hired on many occasions by the film and television industry.
Productions using Carters equipment have included the films Paddington 2, 28 Weeks Later and The Theory of Everything; and television series Call the Midwife.
Joby said: “We know the industry very well, so when they come to us we’re speaking the right language, which is why we get used so often.”
Filming for Rocketman took place over a few days in October.
Joby said: “Initially, they wanted a waltzer which we don’t have, but I said, look this is what we've got, why don’t you come and see the fair and they came and said ‘yeah we love it’.
“They picked the things they wanted and we put them together.”
Almost all the rides in the film belong to Carters, apart from the big wheel, which was being restored at the time.
Although Carters started travelling in 1977, Rocketman sets its history back to the 1960s and Elton’s childhood.
Joby said: “I believe that the first scene was 1960 when he was a kid, he runs through a hole in the fence and when he comes back out again its 1969.
“They asked us ‘could we use the name Carters’ and I said ‘yeah, I don’t see why not’ – and they actually made fake Carters posters, like it was the 1960s and we weren’t even in business then.”
Although the Carter family love travelling the fair, doing the odd job in television and film does have its perks.
Joby said: “If they know you’re going to deliver, then your money’s good and it helps run the businesses basically.
“The added bonus is getting free advertising to millions of people all over the world.”
To find out more about the steam fair tour dates go to www.carterssteamfair.co.uk/
Bray Studios has also been used to film a forthcoming three-part series of Dracula.
‘Reinvented for a 21st-century audience’, the series has been written and created by Sherlock’s Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The series was commissioned for BBC One and is a co-production with Netflix.
Filming began at Orava Castle in Slovakia, before moving to England where it continued in Bray.
Speaking in April, Gatiss said: “It’s seriously delightful that our new Dracula is being shot at Bray Studios – the former home of Hammer Films. This wonderfully atmospheric and legendary studio gave birth to so many famous monsters and stars – most memorably Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
“As we watch Transylvania once again rise on the sound stages of Bray, it’s amazing to be able to say that Count Dracula has finally come home.”
Transmission dates for Dracula have not yet been confirmed.