"Life After Life" Filming
at All Saints' Basingstoke

In June 2021, a production company descended on All Saints’ Church to film scenes for an adaptation of the novel “Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson. The four episodes were screened on BBC Two beginning in late-April 2022.

During the morning of the location day at All Saints’, technicians and props staff set about rearranging furniture and fittings appropriate to the scene, as well as placing lights, screens, camera track, monitors  and other equipment  (under the watchful eye of our Churchwarden). While preparations were taking place in church, the cameras were in use filming at The Vyne, north of Basingstoke. After lunch the full crew moved to All Saints’ to film a marriage ceremony.

As seen at the end of episode 2, it was a somewhat austere ceremony with only the vicar, bride groom and three parents in attendance. The austerity perhaps emphasised by the initial shot from the back of the church showing the wedding party dwarfed by their surroundings. During the Art Department’s initial recce to scout the location, they had primarily focused on using the Lady Chapel as the setting for the wedding, which might have produced a more claustrophobic atmosphere in the relatively small space.
However, after the Director visited the church prior to filming, the decision was made to film in the main body of All Saints’. This was probably due to a combination of being able to show the “smallness” of the characters and the greater ability to place the film camera in varying positions for different takes of the scene.

A very old altar frontal had been “liberated” from the church store to help convey the early 1930s atmosphere. A couple of flower arrangements were supplied by a local florist. After a period if “reduced” seating due to social distancing constraints of the COVID pandemic, it was good to see all the chairs back in place - and with kneelers hung on their backs.  You may be aware that there is a rope attached to a pulley that hangs diagonally from the church roof to one of the pillars on the south side – this has been digitally removed in the transmitted film. Interior filming ran through the afternoon with multiple long shot, medium shot and close up takes being recorded.

After 5pm the crew moved outside on to Southern Road to film the couple leaving “St Saviour’s, Norwood” (as the prop notice board declared) for their honeymoon via a period vehicle. This sequence appears at the start of episode 3. It is amusing to see the Vicar step across to the south side of Southern Road to take a photo of the wedding party (even arranging the position of the parents in doing so) as they stand outside the south-east porch doors.

The eagle-eyed may note a discrepancy when the scene cuts to the wedding party’s view of the Vicar holding his (he doesn’t appear to hand it back to anyone) camera – he is now standing opposite the south-west porch as can be seen from the foliage and wall behind him. If he had stood opposite the south-east porch, the railings and exterior of Proteus Arts Centre may not have been appropriate.

After completing the Southern Road filming, the production team moved down to Fairfields Road for a scene early in episode 3 where Ursula (the central character) walks past a tennis club (the Waverley Tennis Club). All Saints’ has a presence in the transmitted scene as the church bells can be heard ringing in the background – the filming took place on one of All Saints’ bell-ringers’ practice nights, and ringers are loathe to miss their practices.


So, from that day in June 2021, All Saints’ Basingstoke joins the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Blockley (Father Brown), the Church of St Mary and St Andrew, Whittlesford (Grantchester), and St Leonard's, Shoreditch (Rev.) and many others as a church filming location.