BBC One’s "Beyond Paradise" – our experience as a film location
With the recent release of BBC One’s new "Death in Paradise" spin-off, "Beyond Paradise", and the appearance of some of our Pentillie landmarks on the ‘small screen’, we are being asked lots of questions about our experiences as a filming location. So, while we could keep you guessing, we thought we’d spill some of the proverbial beans here.
Where was Beyond Paradise filmed?
As with the long-standing debate over jam or cream first, there is quite the controversy over where "Beyond Paradise" is set. According to the script ‘Shipton Abbott’ is in South Devon, however, as many of us Cornish folk know, much of the filming actually took place in South East Cornwall, with the beautiful seaside community of Looe masquerading as the show’s main town. The town’s thriving community and fishing port gave energy and soul to the on-screen town according to Executive Producer Tim Key. While other local destinations such as the Port Eliot Estate, Werrington Park, Calstock and Fowey provide the background locations to the story-line, along with the Pentillie Estate of course!
Most significantly, many of you recognised D.I. Humphrey’s house as our riverside cottage and quay. Unlike Sky One’s "Delicious", "Beyond Paradise" didn’t use the castle at all. Maybe because it’s been used in television productions before, or more likely because the storyline just didn’t warrant a bright yellow castellated house above a memorable bend in a big river. The castle itself was also busy with weddings and private hire bookings at the time of filming, and therefore wasn’t available.
Fortunately for us, the location manager was looking for riverside and rural cottages, woodland pathways, derelict buildings, and a quay. All these spaces have already been seen in episode 1, so we should probably leave you guessing at this point - we don’t want to be accused of any spoilers!
How did we get chosen as a filming location?
There are many answers to this: firstly because the Pentillie Estate is utterly beautiful (not at all biased), secondly, it undoubtedly helps that we are central to many of the other locations, and lastly because of a zillion boring practicalities.
Having been fortunate to see a fair amount of filming over the years here at Pentillie, its astonishing how many people and vehicles are involved in the process. There are often hundreds of people, and many tens of vehicles coming and going all day. There are heaps of logistical challenges, so the opportunity to film more than one or two scenes at a single location is of great benefit to a crew. Easy access, lots of space to park, proximity to good roads and great accommodation would probably have also given the estate an extra tick.
Did I mention that it might be because the Pentillie Estate is also very photogenic. Television likes pretty places – well not always obviously. But when they are looking for pretty countryside, then there’s a good bet that the West Country will come up with the goods.
Why Cornwall, when the show is based in Devon?
Good question! But we reckon that it might be because South East Cornwall is beautiful, and as Kris Marshall said in a recent interview, it tends to be less touristy, so when they want to film in the good weather (which generally is the summer), it’s easier to get around. Being slightly quieter than the South Hams or North Cornwall, and with good availability of accommodation for all the cast and crew, probably helps. The Tamar Valley and Looe are also within close proximity to Plymouth, the A30 and the A38, so it is accessible for all those vehicles I mentioned before.
What did the crew think of filming in Cornwall?
Summer, blue skies, proximity to wonderful beaches and surf, great food, excellent drink, pasties (we hear they visited Sarah’s Pasty’s almost every day!), fun pubs, awesome people, #jamfirst – we think they had a pretty good time.
What were the cast and crew like, did you meet any of them?
They were busy! They generally film for 10 hours each day, and set-up happens before they start, meaning very long days. With filming not taking place at the castle, we didn’t see as much of the cast and crew as when "Delicious" was filmed here, but those who we did chat to were charming, and very happy to be in the area.
The only slight drama was when a scene was filmed in our son’s bedroom. The props managers were as careful as they could be with the Lego, even taking photographs before they moved anything to ensure it all went back exactly the same. But the beady eyes of an 8-year-old on his Lego collection are no match for even the most thorough of props managers… there were tears… But soon rectified with a hot chocolate from the catering van!
What do we think of the show?
We love it. Great scenery, good laughs – our children all love the parping lady, and fun scripts.
We are very excited to see the rest of the series air, spotting many local Cornish sites as we go. Don’t forget to tune into BBC One every Friday night at 8pm,or catch up on iPlayer or Britbox.
Let’s hope that they come back again next year!