Earlier this month Bristol was named Best Place to Live in the UK for 2017 by the Sunday Times. It was chosen for its location, its job opportunities and its culture, and it’s that last factor that we want to celebrate today. The city has been used as a backdrop for lots of fantastic TV shows, so if you want to see more of brilliant Bristol on the small screen, here’s where to look.
Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall came to life in the BBC miniseries of the same name, filmed partly in Bristol Cathedral. The impressive building featured in almost every episode, and even stood in for Westminster Abbey during Anne Boleyn’s coronation. You can visit the cathedral all year round, free of charge, and starting next month the cathedral is even running three sell-out Wolf Hall tours!
Probably one of the most successful TV shows to come out of the UK in recent years, Sherlock found many of its filming locations in Bristol, and you can discover all of them with Film Bristol’s helpful map. Look out for Ashton Court, King Street and Cathedral Square in ‘The Abominable Bride’, Bristol South Swimming Pool in ‘The Great Game’, and Portland Square in ‘The Empty Hearse’ as the location of that memorable bonfire scene!
Matt Smith spent some time filming the 2012 Christmas special of Doctor Who in Bristol, alongside the Doctor’s companion Clara, played by Jenna Coleman. Using old-fashioned costumes, snow machines and even horses and carts, Corn Street and St. Nicholas Market were taken back in time to an 1890’s winter for the episode ‘The Snowmen’. Fun fact: this festive Christmas episode was filmed in the middle of August!
The Casual Vacancy
JK Rowling, the legendary creator of Harry Potter, was born in Yate outside Bristol, and in 2015 her novel The Casual Vacancy was adapted into a BBC miniseries. It was filmed on location in Bristol – the main housing estate in the story, The Fields, was shot on Silbury Road in Ashton Vale!
BAFTA award-winning TV series Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, was filmed in and around Bristol and Clevedon. Temple Way puts in an appearance in series one, and one of the show’s major families, the Latimers, made their home on Lavington Close in Clevedon. Want to see it for yourself? Check out Visit Bristol’s Broadchurch Walking Trail.
No list of Bristol-based TV shows would be complete without mentioning Skins. The show follows the gritty struggles of a group of Bristol teenagers, and the city was used for numerous filming locations. Next time you’re watching, keep an eye out for Vauxhall Bridge, the waterfront, College Green and Brandon Hill Park.
Only Fools and Horses
If you had to pinpoint the home of Rodney and Del Boy, Nelson Mandela House, you’d be forgiven for pointing at Peckham in London. In fact, the iconic tower block is located in Bristol’s Ashton Gate. Several more of the show’s most famous scenes were filmed in Bristol too: Del and Rodney make their appearance as Batman and Robin near Broadmead shopping centre, and the scene in which Del falls through an open bar was filmed in the wine bar of Loch Fyne Restaurant in Welsh Back!
Are you a culture vulture interested in living in Bristol? Please contact Gough Quarters for more information.
Bristol interior by barnyz on Flickr through Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license
56 Corn Street by Adrian Scottow on Flickr through Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license
Brandon Hill Park by Penny Higgins on Flickr through Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license