How the makers of new British/American movie The Golden Compass took various famous landmarks around the UK - such as those in London and Oxford - and, using computer wizadry, made them look even more impressive....

Following The Golden Compass to Greenwich

By Gary Cleland

For more than 200 years it has been revered as an architectural masterpiece - but Hollywood clearly thought it could do better.

The makers of The Golden Compass used computer generated imagery to transform Sir Christopher Wren's Old Royal Naval College to create a vast but convincing extension.

The makers of The Golden Compass thought the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London lacked something....

The landmark in Greenwich, south London, has been used as a key location in the multi-million-pound film adaptation of the book by Philip Pullman. It has been used to create the headquarters of the Magisterium, the shadowy religious organisation attempting to control the world.

– so they tacked on a vast extension after filming was completed using computer-generated imagery

The makers of the film, which stars Nicole Kidman and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, used the inside of the building to create the fictional Jordan College in Oxford, home to Lyra, the film's heroine.

Ray Faithfull, the director of facilities management at the college, said: "We're part of a World Heritage Site so the main thing is to protect the historic nature of the buildings.

With such a large film as this, it's very difficult to try to allow the director to get the effects he wants while trying to protect everything.

"But there's always a willingness on our part."

In The Golden Compass, which is released on Friday, 13-year-old Richards plays Lyra, who challenges the plots of the Magisterium's Marisa Coulter, played by Kidman.

A scene from The Golden Compass (2007)

The story moves from Oxford to the Arctic and features armoured talking bears. The cast spent two weeks filming in London in September last year.

Other London locations that can be seen in the movie include the Sheraton Park Hotel in Piccadilly, Chiswick House, streets in central London and Crowley's Wharf in Greenwich.