From Barcelona to Berlin: Where All Your Favourite TV Shows Were Filmed

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We know you’ve been busy baking banana bread and shaving each other’s heads, but we imagine between these activities you’ve packed in a fair few films and television series. While we’re in lockdown, these on-screen settings have appeared even more alluring than ever, so if you fancy following in the footsteps of some of your favourite characters then we’ve got the scoop on where some of the most celebrated were filmed.

Normal People

If you haven’t seen the BBC Three adaptation of Sally Rooney’s ‘millennial romance’ novel, Normal People, by now, then you must have heard the hype. The intense series that follows the lives of Marianne and Connell as they navigate that tricky part of life between adolescence and adulthood is mostly set in Ireland – Sligo and Dublin to be exact. The dreamy scenes at the beach were shot at Streedagh Strand in the north-west of Sligo, reminding us of the wild, coastal gems that we have on our doorstep.

Connell and Marianne both study at Trinity College in Dublin, which lends plenty of majestic backdrops – Marianne’s high-ceilinged red-brick house is an interiors addict’s dream. At one point, the story travels to Italy to the sleepy commune of Sant’Oreste, just north of Rome. Settings like the lofty villa with its pristine aquamarine pool, the rolling vineyards and the secluded square where the pair stop off for ice cream arouse nostalgia for those languorous, sensual summers of youth that feel tinged with melancholy – when time seems to almost stand still. And they make us really, really want to go on holiday.


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After Life

The second series of Ricky Gervais’s comedy drama After Life – about a man who is grieving for his wife – sees him once again in the fictional village of Tanbury, which looks like one of the many quintessential British towns that you might venture to for a day trip or staycation. The programme is actually filmed between Hemel Hempstead and Hampstead in London.

Many of the quaint shop fronts and tea rooms are all real businesses in the Hertfordshire old town, including Jordan’s Antique Centre and The Tea Tree – where some of the most heart-rending conversations between Tony (Ricky Gervais) and his colleagues take place. The scenes outside Tony’s enviable red-brick semi-detached house are actually filmed in a hamlet called Vale of Health on the edge of Hampstead Heath in London. The first scene of the second series sees Gervais sitting on a bench on Parliament Hill in the Heath, looking across to Highgate Hill – this is one of the highest points in all of London and one of our favourite green spaces in the city.


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Killing Eve

There’s no guesswork needed when it comes to Killing Eve’s filming locations – one of the sharp and witty thriller’s trademarks is its bold font that displays the name of the city across the screen whenever the story moves to a new place. One of the major settings in the third instalment is the city break favourite of Barcelona. Villanelle (Jodie Comer) is based in the Spanish hotspot instead of Paris and dare we say it, we might like her new pad even better than the last.

The city’s elaborate gothic architecture is well-suited to the stylish yet sinister serial killer, as we see her sashaying along golden streets and sipping vodka al fresco on pretty squares. Her apartment, located in the famed Casa Ramos, features Moorish-Catalonian columns and mosaics, floor to ceiling windows, and glass doors that open out onto a verdant courtyard – letting the gorgeous Spanish sun flood in. Villanelle’s reaction pretty much sums up our thoughts on the place…


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Ironically, this fast-paced new Netflix show about the trials and tribulations of the post-war film industry was shot pretty much entirely on sets built in Los Angeles – film sets within film sets! Produced by the same people who created the glitzy yet dark productions, Pose and The Politician, Hollywood drips with the kind of glamour that you can only really imagine finding in La La Land.

A key scene in the movie that the characters are making takes place at the Hollywood sign, which actually read ‘Hollywoodland’ until 1949, and is still one of the area’s most frequented attractions. The show also depicts real-life stars of the golden age, such as Vivien Leigh, Rock Hudson, Henry Wilson, Hattie McDaniel and Anna May Wong. For those captivated by the glitz of tinseltown, there are plenty of ways to walk in the footsteps of the rich and famous in Los Angeles – Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard, for example, are must-visit hotspots.


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Unorthodox follows the life of Esty – a Hasidic Jew from Williamsburg in Brooklyn who escapes her ultra devout community and arranged marriage to carve out a new path in Berlin.

Most of the filming actually took place in Berlin, apart from location shots of New York, and the contrast between the architecture is one of the first things you notice. When Esty arrives she looks up at the golden angel statue on top of the Siegessäule (Victory Column), an iconic monument that has been used in films before (notably Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire), and is now a symbol of Berlin’s large LGBTQ community. Many of the Berlin scenes are shot in Kreuzberg, which is home to lots of playful 70s and 80s architecture, including the Chalhulm Conservatory of Music where she meets a group of diverse musicians. Music is a driving force in Etsy’s new life, and she bags an audition at the academy in her quest to play classical music professionally – a dream unfathomably far away from her life in Williamsburg. Berlin’s unrivalled club culture is also celebrated when Esty goes to see one of her new acquaintances play in a dark and grimy techno club.

One of the most moving images in Unorthodox takes place at Wannsee – where Berliners gather socially and swim in the lakes. The House of the Wannsee Conference, where the Nazis planned the final solution, can be seen on the far side, however it is here that Esty removes her wig and submerges herself in the water – marking her move away from her religion. Berlin is such a significant and stirring setting in Unorthodox because it represents both Esty’s past – Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn are nearly all descendants of Holocaust survivors – and her bright future. It’s a phenomenal city that witnessed periods of history that we must never forget, and now boasts an incredibly diverse, free-spirited and forward-thinking culture.


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