Bristol lands bigger role on the small screen as city-made TV productions come thick and fast

June 17, 2022

Bristol’s already strong reputation as a leading centre for TV production has been bolstered this month with a raft of new programmes made in the city hitting the small screen.

Wholly set and filmed in Bristol, the second series of Stephen Merchant’s hit comedy thriller The Outlaws began earlier this month on BBC One after an extensive shoot that took place at The Bottle Yard Studios in South Bristol and on location across the city, including Harbourside, pictured.

That was followed by Becoming Elizabeth, the new STARZ Original Tudor drama exploring the untold story of the early life of England’s most iconic queen, which premiered last Sunday after filming at the studios last year.

Last night The Lazarus Project, a new Sky Original drama starring Emmy and BAFTA-nominated actor Paapa Essiedu, started its series on Sky Max, after part-filming in Bristol last year.

And this Sunday ITV detective series McDonald & Dodds returns for a third series after filming at the Bottle Yard, in Stokes Croft as well as in Bath – where it is set – and other locations across the West of England.

McDonald & Dodds production company Mammoth Screen once again based its headquarters at The Bottle Yard Studios, where sets were built for the police station precinct.

Senior Bristol film manager Laura Aviles said: “We were delighted to welcome Mammoth Screen back for the third series of McDonald & Dodds last year, a much-loved series that has built up a loyal fan base over its first two series.

“With sets and production offices at The Bottle Yard Studios, supportive film offices in Bath and Bristol, skilled crew and versatile locations, we’re very proud that the West of England was able to once again cater for this popular primetime drama on every front.”

The show, centred on the working relationship between two mismatched-but-unexpectedly effective crime-solving detectives, became an instant hit when series one was first broadcast two years ago.

Its third series sees Tala Gouveia and BAFTA-award winning Jason Watkins, pictured, reprise their roles as the smart and ambitious DCI McDonald and the humble and quietly brilliant DS Dodds.

They are joined by cast addition Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), pictured below, as their new boss, Chief Superintendent Ormond.

As with the previous series, they are joined by a host of big-name TV acting talent in cameo appearances.

Mammoth Screen COO Jon Williams said: “We were delighted to return to the West of England to produce a third series of McDonald & Dodds.

“Mammoth has been producing shows in the West of England for nearly 15 years and with very good reason.

“Whilst the breadth of locations continues to surprise us, the incredibly film-friendly nature of the region together with the range and depth of production and post production talent the region offers continue to delight us.”

Jason Watkins said: “We stay in Bristol and film in Bath, and I love the area. It’s my second home – I’ve worked around there since Trollied and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies.

“I’ve got my routine and it’s such a beautiful part of the world, I’m delighted to be filming there.

“I like doing the accent as well, it makes you feel good when you do it, it’s lovely.”

Clare Skinner added: “It’s such a nice place to work! When I wasn’t in a scene, I got the chance to do a lot of walking around Bristol, which is where we stayed. It was a really lovely job.”

Guest stars set to feature in the four new standalone murder mysteries making up series three of McDonald & Dodds include Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek, QI), veteran stage and screen actor Dame Sian Phillips (I, Claudius, Keeping Faith), Catherine Tyldesley (Coronation Street, Scarborough), Holly Aird (Waking the Dead, Unforgotten), Paul McGann (Doctor Who, Holby City), Kelvin Fletcher (Emmerdale, Strictly Come Dancing), Ben Batt (Shameless, Domina), Sarah Parish (Stay Close, W1A), Rhashan Stone (Strike Back, Keeping Faith), Nitin Ganatra (Masood in EastEnders), Saira Choudhry (No Offence, Life), Max Bennett (Poldark) and Gerran Howell (1917, Young Dracula).

McDonald & Dodds series three begins on Sunday, 19 June, at 8pm on ITV and ITV Hub. Future instalments then air weekly.

Outlaws image courtesy of BBC Amazon Prime Video, McDonald & Dodds images courtesy of ITV


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