Unknown to almost anyone in Coventry, a quiet corner of town has recently been blessed with a bit of Hollywood sunshine. British film and TV stars Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes filmed the new ITV series Stonehouse at Coventry College’s disused Henley campus.
The show, written by John Preston, is about John Stonehouse, a former spy and politician who tried to fake his own death in 1974. It will feature Macfadyen, star of the hugely popular American television show Succession, as the character main and former Line of Duty star Hawes, as Barbara – Stonehouse’s wife.
Macfadyen and Hawes, who are also husband and wife in real life, spent much of February and March filming scenes in Henley Green on the site of the old college, which closed permanently in July. There is currently a planning application to build over a hundred homes on the site once the building is demolished, but a decision has been pending since November – which the council says is quite common due to the size of the plans .
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But after speaking with local residents, CoventryLive learned that the campus, which is still owned by Coventry College, was recently used for the filming of a television series. Production bosses sent letters earlier in the year about plans to use the campus for filming.
A resident said: “We got letters telling us this was happening. There were big big trucks going up and down the car park road for weeks. The letter said the movie was about John Stonehouse, the politician who faked his own death.”
We approached ITV and production company Snowed-In Productions who both confirmed the college was used for the filming of Stonehouse. It is understood that the building was used for its variety of different types of stages it could accommodate.
Addressing the role, Matthew Macfadyen said: “What happened to John Stonehouse is legend. I have always been intrigued by what motivated him to fake his own death and leave behind the family he loved and adored and a promising political career. John Preston’s script really captures the man and his colorful life and I can’t wait to play his character.