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May 3rd, 2020
In response to the current coronavirus pandemic, the UK government has advised against all unnecessary travel. We are supporting this message by encouraging virtual visitations instead.
If you're hankering after some West Country imagery in your life, you're in luck as Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area are often used as filming locations, thanks to their historic buildings, gorgeous countryside, beautiful coastline and Bristol's status as a UNESCO city of film.
There's never been a better time for binge-watching TV, so give your armchair wings and catch a glimpse of the West Country with our list of the best TV shows filmed in the region, that you can watch online now.
TV Shows filmed in Bristol, Bath and beyond you can stream now
His Dark Materials
If you haven’t yet watched the BBC’s recent adaptation from Philip Pullman’s epic trilogy, then boy are you in for a treat this lockdown! Key scenes from the fantasy adventure series were filmed in Bristol - including a chase sequence through Trenchard Street, Colston Street, Host Street and Pipe Lane into Colston Yard.
The grade II* listed Blaise Orangery at the Blaise Castle Mansion House Estate also snaps up some screen time.
Watch now: BBC iPlayer
Although synonymous with Cornwall (and Aidan Turner’s topless scything scene), it might surprise you to learn that much of BBC’s Poldark was actually filmed in Bristol and the nearby area.
18 of the productions sets were created at Bristol’s The Bottle Yard Studios and filming locations in the city have included The New Room (transformed into Bodmin Court for Ross’ trial in series 2), Redcliffe Caves (for interior shots of the mines) and Bristol Old Vic (season 5 opening episode).
Other West Country locations also featured - look out for Corsham High Street doubling as 18th century Truro, Dyrham Park - an impressive 17th-century mansion near Bath - as the Warleggan Town House, Wells’ Town Hall as Warleggan Bank, Bath’s Prior Park College doubled as Truro Assembly rooms and ballroom, while the National Trust’s Grand Chalfield Manor (just outside Bath) was Killewarren House and the grounds of Bowood House in Wiltshire masqueraded as Hyde Park.
Watch now: Series 1 to 3 are available on Netflix.
Mystery-solving super sleuths, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) are no strangers to Bristol and Bath when it comes to filming locations. Many episodes were filmed in and around the two cities - see if you can spot Bristol’s King Street, Colston Hall, Tyntesfield, Arnos Vale Cemetery, Goldney Hall, and Portland Square or Bath’s cobbled Queen Street.
Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studio was also used as the base for 2016's New Year special, when Sherlock ventured back to Victorian times.
You can also virtually follow in the footsteps of the famous duo by checking out The Bristol Film Office's trail map to see exactly where famous scenes were filmed.
Channel 4's four-part historical drama starring Jamie Dornan was based at The Bottle Yard Studios in 2013. Location filming took place across the South West at Chavenage House, Great Chalfield Manor and Berkeley Castle, as well as parts of Ashton Hill Plantation (near Ashton Court), the Forest of Dean, Wells and central Bristol.
Watch now: 4oD
ITV’s recent prime time period drama, Sanditon, was inspired by Jane Austen's unfinished novel. The series follows its impulsive heroine, Charlotte Heywood, who moves from her rural home to a small fishing village (Sanditon). And here's a fun fact: Theo James, who plays Sidney Parker in Sanditon, studied at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Much of the series was filmed at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios as well as locations around the city, in North Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. These include The Georgian House Museum, Iford Manor: The Peto Gardens (near Bradford-on-Avon), Dyrham Park, West Littleton Church, The New Room, Bowood House and Gardens and the North Somerset coast.
For a taster of the glorious Georgian buildings and Weston-super-Mare as you've never seen it before, check out this Youtube clip.
Watch now: Buy episodes one at a time or purchase the whole box set on Amazon.
The Trial of Christine Keeler
Inspired by the real-life chain of events surrounding the Profumo affair - one of Britain’s most infamous political scandals - this six-part series looks at the story of the 19 year old at its heart (who inadvertently almost toppled the government).
Although most of the action seemingly takes place in the capital throughout the series, what the viewer sees is often Bristol doubling as 1960s London.
More than 10 Bristol locations (the largest number of Bristol locations used in a single drama for years) stood in for London, including Central Library as Marylebone Police Station, St Paul’s is Notting Hill, the Wills Memorial Building plays the House of Commons, offices above St Nicholas’ Market became the War Office and MI5, and the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House plays a Mayfair restaurant and hotel room. Other film locations included Goldney Hall, Caledonia Place, City Hall, Berkeley Square and Corn Street.
Some of Bath's finest buildings also gave a convincing performance as London and the city's Georgian Guildhall was used to film key Old Bailey scenes, while Abbey Green doubled as Notting Hill.
Watch it now: BBC iPlayer
The Pale Horse
Like The Trial of Christine Keeler, The Pale Horse is set in London, but was mostly filmed in Bristol! Once again, the city assumes the identity of 1960s London as we follow wealthy antiques dealer played by Rufus Sewell, as he tries to deduce why his name is on a list of people found in a dead woman’s show.
The two-part mystery thriller based on Agatha Christie’s novel features Bristol’s Arnos Vale Cemetery, Ashton Court Estate, St Nicholas Market, Queen Square, Clifton Village, Frogmore Street and Denmark Street.The small village of Bisley in South Gloucestershire also doubled as Much Deeping.
Watch now: BBC iPlayer
War of the Worlds
The latest adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi novel about an apocalyptic extraterrestrial invasion, first aired on 5 March 2020. Set in contemporary Europe, the drama was filmed across the UK and France, with Bristol doubling as an apocalyptic London in the eight-part series.
Keep your peepers peeled for College Street and St George’s Street area which were used for large-scale stunt sequences featuring a number of bodies strewn across the roads. City Hall also masquerades as the exterior of an underground station. Filming took place around Orchard Street, Queen Square, the Create Centre, Armada House on Dove Street and Stapleton Road.
Watch now: Sky Channel 124, Virgin Media Channel 157, Now TV, Talk Talk Channel 316 and BT TV Channel 349.
BBC 2’s Wolf Hall series is based on the award-winning books by Hilary Mantel and chronicles the journey of Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, as he ascends from humble blacksmith’s son to King Henry VIII's (Damien Lewis) Chief Minister.
Some of the drama's biggest scenes were filmed at Bristol Cathedral - see if you can spot The Chapter House playing the Duke of Norfolk’s office, the gothic Elder Lady Chapel, where Catherine of Aragon’s last moments were filmed, and the Choir, which witnessed a tense encounter between Anne Boleyn and the French Ambassador. The Cathedral’s impressive Nave also set the scene for Anne Boleyn’s coronation.
The series squeezed in a whole host of west country locations including Montecute House and Barrington Court in Somerset, Lacock Abbey, Great Chalfield Manor and garden, Wells Cathedral and Berkeley Castle.
Watch now: BBC iPlayer
Pre-Killing Eve, Jodie Comer played Ivy Moxam, a 26-year-old woman who escapes from the cellar where she has been imprisoned for 13 years. Set against a Bristol backdrop, this miniseries follows her story and the impact on her family. Much of the series was filmed on location in Redland and Redcliffe and the show’s finale is set in a house in the Lockleaze area of Bristol and features the Purdown BT Tower, which is mentioned by name in the show.
Watch now: BBC iPlayer
This cutting-edge teen drama series was famed for its controversial storylines as it followed a group of teenagers through their days at college in Bristol. The show was filmed in all areas of the city back in 2007 (you can find all the filming locations in the Bristol Film Office Skins Bristol Movie Map) including some of Bristol’s most iconic spots such as Thekla, Park Street, Millennium Square and Brandon Hill park.
It also launched the careers of acting megastars Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel and Kaya Scodelario) who, you’ll see, are but young spring chickens in the programme.
Sarah Lancashire stars as a social worker in this compelling four-part miniseries about the abduction of a young black girl, just before she’s about to be adopted by a white middle-class family. The production was filmed around Bristol locations Gloucester Road, Cumberland Basic, St Andrews Park, Nine Tree Hill, The Bearpit and The Downs.
Where to watch: 4oD
Only Fools and Horses
Although set in Peckham, much-loved sit-com Only Fools and Horses, was never actually filmed there, and Bristol stood in for the South London district for many years. The tower block overlooking Ashton Gate doubled up as 'Nelson Mandela House' and Rodney and Del Boy's other regular hang-outs such as local boozer, The Nag's Head can also be found in the city.
One of the most iconic moments in the show - when the brothers' car breaks down en route to a fancy dress party and emerge from the fog dressed as Batman and Robin, was filmed in Broadmead and Stokes Croft.
Aidan Turner (Poldark) is one of the main characters in this supernatural comedy-drama television series about three housemates trying to come to terms with their paranormal alter egos.
The first and second series were set and filmed in Bristol - look out for shots of Clifton Suspension Bridge and Clifton Village.
Windsor Terrace in Totterdown, was the location of Mitchell, Annie, and George's home and the pub shown in the pilot. Scenes set at the hospital where Mitchell and George work were filmed in and around the BRI and Glenside, Bristol.
Production relocated to Cardiff for season three onwards, but in the first two you'll see Windsor Terrace in Totterdown feature heavily (that's where the main characters live) and also get glimpses of places like Clifton Suspension Bridge, Clifton Village and UWE's Glenside Campus in Fishponds.
Watch now: Netflix
A powerful drama based on the true story of three of the children who were victims of the 2012 grooming and sex trafficking case in Rochdale. Filming took place across Bristol back in 2016 and used council offices on Temple Street which doubled as Liverpool Crown Court, while Bristol Register Office was used for interior community meeting scenes. Scenes were also filmed in Victoria Park, Eastville Park and streets in Hartcliffe, Knowle, Easton, Bedminster and Redcliffe.
Watch now: BBC iPlayer
Thought of as the ‘British Buffy’ (the Vampire Slayer), this comedy horror series from the BAFTA award-winning creator of Misfits, follows the angst and exorcisms of an unlikely pair of demon hunters.
Filming took place across a plethora of Bristol locations including M Shed, Queen’s Road, College Street underground car park, Millennium Promenade, Old Bread Street, Ashton Court estate and mansion, Nelson Street, Frogmore Street, O2 Academy, We The Curious and Bottle Yard Studios.
Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806, and it’s well-known that the city inspired her novels Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
The city’s historic Georgian streets are a perfect backdrop to period dramas based on her books and both the 1995 and 2007 film versions of Persuasion used Bath as a filming location.
Watch now: Rent or buy season 1 of 2007 version of Persuasion on Amazon Prime.
Keep your beady eyes peeled for a glimpse of Bath Assembly Rooms in ITV's series Belgravia, a nineteenth-century dramatic feast for the eyes starring Tamsin Greig. The lavish interior features in the first episode as a setting for a grand ball in Brussels.
Watch now: ITV Hub
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies
This BAFTA award-winning ITV drama starring Jason Watkins is based on the true story of retired schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies who was wrongfully accused of murdering 25 year-old landscape architect Joanna Yeates in 2010.
The tragic case, which shook the city as developments unfolded, was filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location across Bristol. In it you’ll see Clifton Village (Boyce’s Avenue, Princess Victoria Street, Gloucester Row, Royal York Crescent, Victoria Square, Clifton Down/Observatory Hill), Clifton Triangle and the Broad Quay area.
Starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, ITV’s crime drama about the killing of a young boy in a nondescript coastal town made for addictive television viewing. Primarily filmed in the Jurassic Coast harbour village of West Bay, Dorset, many of the street scenes in Broadchurch are filmed in Clevedon, on the North Somerset coast near Bristol.
Look out for the marine lake (used in the boat burning episode in series 1), Poet’s Walk and Wain’s Hill (coastal walks which have inspired the likes of Coleridge, Tennyson and Thackeray), St Andrews Church and cemetery, Salthouse fields and seafront and Hill Road.
Watch now: Youtube, iTunes, Sky on Demand and Amazon Prime.
Find out more
Bristol Film office have a page on their site dedicated to programmes filmed in or made in Bristol which you can watch online.