Channel 4 crime series Before We Die starts tonight and plenty of familiar sights to Bristolians should be on show.
The drama starring Lesley Sharp, adapted from the hit Swedish series of the same name, begins at 9pm (May 26) after filming in Bristol with support from the city’s Film Office.
The production team filmed in September 2020 and the first three months of 2021, shooting at numerous locations around the city, where the drama is set.
These include Victoria Square, Brandon Hill Park and The Paragon in Clifton; York Road in Montpelier; The Horsefair in the city centre; and Stokes Croft.
The press pack for the show says filming also took place at Clarence Road, but it isn’t clear if that’s the one in Redcliffe, St Philip’s or Kingswood — so keep an eye out.
There was also aerial filming above a number of Bristol’s green spaces, including Sparke Evans, Netham and Castle Parks. Filming also took place in Belgium.
Described as “a breathless crime thriller, full of heart-stopping jeopardy and unpredictable twists,” the series will have six episodes.
Exec producer Jo McGrath said: “We wanted to set it in a port city, as that is important to the drug trafficking storyline. We were looking for something a little less familiar and Bristol is one of those cities that actually has been used as a backdrop for filming a lot, but you wouldn’t know it because a lot of series are filmed there but not set there.
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“Bristol is such a visually interesting city and editorially it fitted with our storyline. Belgium also features in our drug trafficking storyline. Jan (the Director) is Belgian too and we did shoot many of the interiors in Belgium.”
Director Jan Matthys added: “For me, part of the challenge was making Belgium match with the other scenes in Bristol — which was interesting. We became specialists in ‘Anglifying’ Belgium.”
The show follows Detective Inspector Hannah Laing (Lesley Sharp), who kisses her married lover Sean Hardacre (Bill Ward) goodbye one morning, not knowing it is the last time she sees her fellow detective alive.
Sean goes missing and his brutalised corpse is recovered the following day. Determined to find whoever is responsible for killing him, Hannah accesses one of Sean’s confidential contacts and persuades ‘Issy’ to help her unpick the tangled threads of Sean’s investigation into the Mimicas.
The Mimicas a tight-knit family who left Croatia for Bristol and now run a successful restaurant, where Hannah’s son Christian (Patrick Gibson) works.
Hannah and her sceptical new partner, Billy Murdoch (Vincent Regan), uncover a daring plot by the Mimicas to smuggle an enormous quantity of cocaine into the country.
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Before We Die is produced by Eagle Eye Drama in association with Caviar and is supported by Screen Flanders, DPG Media and the Belgian tax shelter via Caviar Film Financing.
Exec Producer Walter Iuzzolino said: “Putting in place incredibly strong and sophisticated protocols to make sure that everybody was safe and adhering to the rules gave us some unexpected advantages through the ability to bubble.
“This meant that the bubbles of creatives, actors and heads of departments were able to take themselves out of reality for a few months, living together to keep safe and keep working.
“They made the sacrifice, but it paid off because the performances were enhanced from all being together and living in this bubble whilst bonding on and off screen. I think this has truly resulted in great performances.”
Before We Die starts Wednesday 26 May at 9pm on Channel 4. All episodes will be available on All 4 after transmission of episode 1.
Can you spot all the Bristol filming locations, and pick out the ones shot elsewhere? Did you see filming take place? Let us know in the comments below.