From Wonka to Saltburn: Every time Oxford and Cambridge Unis have been used for filming

Okay but imagine ‘loaning’ your halls room to Jacob Elordi

Oxford and Cambridge might be full of siggie ring wearers who still call their parents mummy and daddy, but if they’ve got one thing going for them it’s that their campuses and uni buildings are hella pretty. Like can you genuinely imagine what your gram would look like if you went there?? Never mind how boujee your grad pictures would look!

Because of this, of course, movie directors have taken full advantage and decided to set all their vibey films and TV shows there. And obviously, they’re all gonna make you wish you actually tried at A-Level and went to Oxbridge. Okay, maybe not so much Saltburn, but the dark academia vibes of the rest, maybe.

But to set their shows there, they actually had to film there which means a whole lot of filming at both Oxford and Cambridge whilst students try and “accidentally” run into Jacob Elordi on the way to their all-nighter library sesh.

So here are all the times Oxford and Cambridge universities have been used for filming movies and TV shows:

Saltburn – Oxford

Via Amazon Prime

Alumna of Oxofrd herself, Saltburn’s director Emerald Fennell shot a lot of the first half of the movie actually in Oxford, whereas a lot of other movies use other places and sets for the interior shots. But for Saltburn, students “kindly loaned” their rooms to film the scenes inside Felix and Oliver’s rooms to ensure authenticity. The rest of the Oxford scenes were filmed around Radcliffe Square featuring the iconic Radcliffe Camera and across several colleges including Magdalen, St Hugh’s and Brasenose.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – Oxford

Via Netflix

The opening for the Mamma Mia sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is set in New College Oxford and sees a young Donna graduate from the uni and give a big speech when they all break into a rendition of When I Kissed the Teacher. The inside of New College’s dining hall was used for filming as well as a load of exterior shots of the uni as they cycle to the river and all jump in.

Wonka – Oxford

Whilst the recent viral Willy Wonka experience was set in Glasgow and The Unknown never graced the streets of Oxford, a lot of the original Wonka film was set and filmed in and around Oxford University. In 2022, loads of Oxford students were freaking out when Timothée Chalamet himself just appeared outside The Bodleian Library dressed in the classic Wonka top hat filming for the movie. Filming took place around the Radcliffe Camera and Sheldonian Theatre.

The Deceived – Cambridge

Via Netflix

Why is this guy literally everywhere right now??? Emmet J. Scanlan, who recently appeared in Harlan Coben’s Fool Me Once and seems to be in every single Netflix crime show, starred as a Cambridge lecturer in the show The Decieved which came out in 2020. A lot of the first episode is set in and around Cambridge, with some of the interior Cambridge shots filmed at Queen’s Belfast, to show the story of a lecturer having an affair with one of his students.

The Riot Club – Oxford

The Riot Club, starring Sam Claflin, is inspired by Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club, a private all-male “dining club” with former members including Boris Johnson. Whilst some of the interior scenes of the film are set at Winchester College in Hampshire and Dorney Court, a Tudor manor in Berkshire, there are a lot of exterior shots of the uni throughout the film.

The Theory of Everything – Cambridge

Theory of Everything was released in 2014 and followed the life of Stephen Hawking, including his time at The University of Cambridge. Most of the film is set around Cambridge University and although Stephen Hawking famously studied at Trinity Hall, College the film used the boujee St John’s College instead.

The May Ball in the film where Stephen Hawking begins his relationship with Jane Wilde is staged on the wide lawn in front of the New Court Building, a part of St Johns College lying west of the River Cam.

Harry Potter – Oxford

Oxford Cambridge filming

Via Warner Bros

Probably the most famous of the Oxford and Cambridge uni filming incidents, a lot of Harry Potter is set at Oxford. Oxford University is basically Hogwarts anyway so it’s no surprise that some of it was actually filmed there. Harry Potter was filmed at both New College and Christ Church College. The dining hall scenes in the films are filmed in Christ Church’s dining hall and the iconic Hogwarts staircase is also filmed at the Bodley staircase in the college. Hogwarts’ library was filmed in Duke Humfrey’s Library which is part of the Bodleian. Other scenes are shot in the New College courtyard.

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