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Who we are

Our first commission was for Stuart Craig on Hugh Hudson’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes in 1984, when Filmscapes founder and director Ron Whittle was asked to create ‘living’ sets.

Filmscapes director Lucinda Mclean and landscape designer Hadrian Whittle
Filmscapes director Lucinda Mclean and landscape designer Hadrian Whittle

A family affair

Founded in 1982, Filmscapes is a landscape gardening business with a twist. Although we design and build gardens for private clients, Filmscapes’ biggest claim to fame is creating breathtaking sets for film, TV, advertising and events.

Our first commission was for Stuart Craig on Hugh Hudson’s Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes in 1984 when Ron Whittle was headhunted to create ‘living’ sets.

The Filmscapes journey had begun. We quickly went from strength to strength, with further Stuart Craig films – including Cry Freedom, Memphis Belle and The English Patient, as well as commissions on Kenneth Brannagh and Stephen Spielberg films.

Stuart went on to work on The Secret Garden in 1993, asking Ron to become involved once again… “It’s kind of a fact that the most difficult thing to pull off was the garden.” The aim was to resist a picture-postcard quality in favour of a heightened reality.

The secret garden was constructed within an existing garden on one edge of the Pinewood complex, with Filmscapes providing plants in varying states of unruliness and wondrousness. “We wanted summer and winter all in the same 10-week period,” Stuart Craig comments, remembering the fate of a ‘slightly neurotic’ chestnut tree. “We shot the summer scenes first, then stripped the leaves off it and shot the winter scenes on this poor bare tree, which was very confused about where it was.” Subsequent to filming, he recalled, “The tree put out another batch of leaves; I was rather glad to see the thing was alive.”

30 years on, Ron is still involved, but taking rather more of a back seat these days… while the day to day running of the business is handled by his daughter Lucinda Mclean and landscape design by his son Hadrian Whittle.