Today weíre in the nave of Winchester cathedral, magnificently remodelled by William of Wykeham in the early 15th century. Not surprisingly however this is not Winchester for us, but St. Paulís cathedral in London. St Paulís Ė old St. Paulís that is Ė was gutted in the great fire of London in 1666 and then demolished to make way for the present cathedral so we canít film in the real location.
Cathedrals, indeed all ancient buildings often seem unchangeable but this is not the case. They adapt to reflect their time, being remodelled (like Winchester) or sometimes even demolished (like St. Paulís). Yet in films we often see vistas from the past as complete, finished and all of one period. So Tudor London is all half-timbered houses, Mediaeval castles are all gloomy and stone. In The Golden Age weíre trying to get away from that, so the St. Paulís that Elizabeth walks into is a building site, filled with scaffolding and masons. This reflects firstly the fact that Elizabethan London wasnít a finished Tudor Ďsetí but an organic city made up of buildings of all periods Ė often being demolished and replaced (in an era before planning controls or English Heritage). Secondly it reflects the later fate of St. Paulís itself which was badly damaged in 1561 (when itís spire collapsed following a lightning strike) and the progressive stripping of Catholic iconography from the building in the wake of the Reformation. This is a London being made and remade Ė as London always has been and still is.