Gary Oldman, who plays George Smiley in the newly released re-adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy directed by Tomas Alfredson, won a scholarship to Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, Kent, where he received a BA in Theatre Arts in 1979. (Note for purists: whilst technically now part of Greater London, Sidcup was once referred to as the ‘Gateway to Kent’ and retains Kent as its county reference due to the fact that the Royal Mail did not update the postcodes in 1965 when Greater London was created.)
Oldman is an extraordinarily versatile actor whose other film personae include Sid Vicious, Lee Harvey Oswald and Ludvig van Beethoven. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during their 1985–86 London season and received an Emmy Award nomination for two guest appearances in Friends in 2001. Multi-talented, he tutored Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on bass guitar! His sister, Laila Morse, is also an actress, best known as Mo Harris in the BBC’s long-running series EastEnders. Oldman currently lives in Los Angeles.
Other stars of the film with links to the South East including Benedict Cumberbatch who was educated at Brambletye School in West Sussex and John Hurt who was sent to St Michael’s Preparatory School in Otford, Kent at the age of eight. The film’s stellar cast also includes Colin Firth CBE (Pride and Prejudice and The King’s Speech) and Simon McBurney OBE (think choir master/Teletubbies wedding in The Vicar of Dibley).
The South East of England offers many opportunities for film-location themed tours. Films made in the region range from period dramas such as The Other Boleyn Girl and Jane Austen’s Emma and Pride and Prejudice to Brighton Rock, and the inspiration for 007 James Bond.