13 March 2012

Famous Actor Narrates new Housesteads Film

English Heritage has enlisted the help of the British movie star, Bernard Hill, to narrate a film in the new museum at Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall. The film is part of the Housesteads redevelopment project, which sees English Heritage, National Trust and Northumberland National Park Authority working in partnership to improve the site and enhance the visitor experience.

York-based production companies, 'ay-pe' and Flying TV, took to the skies recently to film a sweeping aerial perspective of Housesteads fort and Hadrian’s Wall. The story of this famous hilltop fortress will be brought to life with narration from the iconic voice of Bernard Hill, and explores the history behind Britain’s most complete Roman fort.

The Edge of Civilisation

Interpretation manager, David Thomas at English Heritage, who is overseeing the museum development said: “Visitors to Housesteads feel like they’re on the edge of civilisation, which is exactly the way the Romans would have felt too when they settled and built the fort on Rome’s most northerly frontier. The film and Bernard’s narration will really help to bring that atmosphere and the spirit of the fort to life.”

Bernard Hill is perhaps most famous for his role in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and anyone who has visited the stunning section of Hadrian’s Wall where Housesteads sits will know that it would not look out of place in one of Peter Jackson’s scenes”

Bernard Hill added: “I know that the landscapes of Hadrian’s Wall have inspired many a film director before and have been used as the backdrop in a number of famous movies. So I was delighted when this opportunity arose to voice the film in the new museum. I hope my narration helps to set the scene and bring the story of Roman Britain to life for visitors to Housesteads in years to come”.

Housesteads Roman Fort from the air

An aerial view of Housesteads Roman Fort

The Film

The film includes a digital view of the fort and civilian settlement of Vercovicium (Housesteads’ Roman name - meaning ‘the place of the effective fighters’). The digital reconstruction and aerial filming are combined to provide a virtual tour of the fort and its buildings; exciting visual effects that bring the legendary fort firmly into the 21st Century for the modern-day visitor. The new museum, which opens on 31 March, includes a special viewing area where the film will be shown.

The museum will also house a new collection of Roman artefacts, displayed in the context of the history of Housesteads, and showing the legacy of the Romans. Outside, a series of interpretation panels will help visitors understand the network of buildings as they explore the fort.  Access to the museum for disabled visitors has been ensured, and the museum shop refurbished.

National Trust has also been granted planning permission for Phase 2 of the project, with work due to take place towards the end of 2012. This will include improving the welcome for visitors by remodelling the visitor centre, toilets, shop and café. Northumberland National Park Authority is improving the visitor infrastructure: improvements to the car park and access points will ultimately provide 40 additional car park spaces and better access for visitors.

For further information visit the Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum property page and follow Hadrian’s Wall on Facebook or Twitter.