TV and Films set in the area
Broadchurch - Series One 2012-13 / Series Two 2014-15 / Series Three 2016-17
David Tennant stars in three eight-part series on ITV,
penned by Doctor Who, Torchwood and Life on Mars writer Chris Chibnall, who has lived in Bridport since 2004.
Tennant plays Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, a newly promoted police detective who arrives in the
town following the death of a young boy. The picturesque coastal town of Broadchurch (West Bay) is
at the heart of a major police investigation and a national media frenzy. However, local resident
Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) believes the case should have been hers and has to
find reserves of patience to negotiate a professional relationship with the tough and unyielding Hardy.
Filmed at West Bay and Clevedon (near Bristol).
Broadchurch was a combination of Broadoak and Whitchurch Canonicorum villages, both near Bridport.
Perhaps Alec Hardy's surname was from Thomas Hardy (novelist) or Sir Thomas Hardy (Vice Admiral), both of Dorset.
Far From the Madding Crowd - 2015
Film locations included Mapperton House, Forde Abbey, West Bay and Sherborne. A Thomas Hardy novel about a headstrong girl who causes unhappiness and tragedy. Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) attracts three very different suitors. Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a sheep farmer and captivated by her fetching wilfulness, Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge) is a handsome and reckless Sergeant while William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) is a prosperous and mature bachelor.
Harbour Lights - Series One 1998-1999 / Series Two 1999-2000
Harbour Lights was set in the fictitious seaside and harbour town of Bridehaven
(alias West Bay). The drama revolved around the main character of Mike Nicholls (played by Nick
Berry). Following a tragic diving accident which claims the life of his close friend, Mike
returns to Bridehaven where he grew up, to take on the job as Harbour Master. But the near
romance with police officer Melanie Rush (Tina Hobley), the ruthless business dealings of Tony Simpson
(Gerard Horan) and the feuding of the Blade family all take their toll.
Two series were recorded and originally screened on the BBC in 1999 and 2000. Nick Berry came to fame in Eastenders, then moving on to Heartbeat. He left due to long periods of being parted from his family while filming in Yorkshire. During the filming of Harbour Lights, his family stayed in a cottage nearby.
River Cottage - 2002-06
The original 'River Cottage' was a weekend retreat for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which he shared with some friends during the 1990s. It was here that he had the idea for a TV series on Channel 4. But he could only ever rent River Cottage, its location being a former game-keeper's lodge in the grounds of Slape Manor, Netherbury. Hugh moved on to purchase a smallholding to keep the River Cottage dream alive. He purchased a 44 acre dairy farm, Lower Atrim Farm, Broadoak, about 2 miles northwest of Bridport, which became the new home of River Cottage HQ where cookery courses and events were held, together with gourmet evenings. However, the Eton educated gourmet eventually outgrew this venue and in November 2006 moved River Cottage HQ to Park Farm, Musbury, near Uplyme in East Devon, where he has found a more suitable 60 acre location. But he says that his family home with his wife and son will remain in Thorncombe, West Dorset.
The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin - 1976-79
The opening sequence shows Reginald Perrin, played by the late Leonard Rossiter, abandoning his clothes on a deserted beach and swimming out to sea. This was filmed on East Beach at West Bay. Other short scenes in the series included the Sluice Gates and Promenade at West Bay, plus the Square and back roads of Beaminster and Burton Bradstock main street. Although the BBC originally wanted to cast Ronnie Barker in the leading role, the series went on to become a cult comedy during the late 1970s. Reggie never finished dictating his letter of complaint to British Rail each morning after arriving late at 'Sunshine Desserts' and had to put up with his intimidating boss 'CJ' with his catchphrase "I didn't get where I am today by ....." Three series were filmed, totalling 21 episodes (all available on DVD).
The Dunlop Advertisement - 1970s
Filmed on the old West Pier (now demolished and replaced by the Jurassic Pier) at West Bay. The famous Formula One driver, Jackie Stewart, made a Dunlop tyre advertisement by racing down the pier and slamming on the brakes at the end. An eyewitness informs us that a helicopter was also used to heighten the dynamics of the filming. Also mentioned in Jackie Stewart's recent autobiography, 'Winning Is Not Enough'.
The Navy Lark - 1959
Filmed in and around the West Bay area, West Bay becomes the fictitious island of Boonzey. Pier Terrace was the Naval Headquarters of Boonzey Island. This was a spin off from the popular BBC radio comedy series about an incompetent crew of a Royal Navy ship. Similar to the 'Carry On' and 'Doctor' films of the time, this black and white film starred Leslie Phillips, Hattie Jacques, Gordon Jackson, Cecil Parker and Ronald Shiner.
Tamara Drewe - 2010
Filmed at Salwayash, Beaminster, Dorchester and Yetminster. Starring Gemma Arterton, Tamara Drewe is a ravishing brunette who returns home to beguile the men of a small Dorset village. The story is loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s Victorian novel 'Far From The Madding Crowd'.
The Boat That Rocked - 2009
Filmed in Portland Harbour, together with a staged interior of the pirate radio ship set up in a warehouse at Osprey Quay. Directed by Richard Curtis, best known for 'Love Actually' and 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost and Kenneth Branagh, who all play pirate radio DJ's. Set in the 1960s when the pirate radio revolution blasted continuous rock and pop music from ships moored just outside British territorial waters.
Gulliver's Travels - 1995
Filmed at Bridport, Seatown / Golden Cap. Ted Danson and Peter O'Toole star in the classic children's tale.
The History of Tom Jones - 1997
Filmed at Golden Cap, Mapperton and Powerstock. The adventures of a foundling in 18th Century England who is brought up by the Squire and eventually marries his daughter.
Emma - 1995
Filmed at locations around Sherborne and Dorchester, Mapperton House, Almshouses at Evershot. Jane Austen's story of matchmaking that goes awry, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.
Restoration - 1994
Filmed at Mapperton House and Forde Abbey. Starring Meg Ryan, Sam Neill and Hugh Grant Costume drama set in the 1660s about a young doctor who falls out of favour with Charles II.
Rockliffe's Folly - 1988
A spin off from Rockliffe's Babies, where a teetotal Scotland Yard detective moves to the Wessex Police Force. Located at Weymouth (Maidenport) and featuring Dorchester Police Station and Bridport street scenes.
Far From the Madding Crowd - 1967
Film locations included Abbotsbury, Portesham and Maiden Castle. Thomas Hardy novel about a headstrong girl who causes unhappiness and tragedy.
Tess of the D'Urbevilles - 1997
Film locations included Burton Bradstock and Cerne Abbey. Thomas Hardy novel.
Persuasion - 1994
Filmed in Lyme Regis. Based on Jane Austen's novel set in England in 1814.
The French Lieutenant's Woman - 1981
Filmed in Lyme Regis. A gentleman forsakes his fiancee for the abandoned mistress of a French seaman in 1867 intertwined with the modern story of the actors playing the Victorian roles.
The Scarlet Tunic - 1996
Filmed at Chideock, Seatown and Bridport. Based on a Thomas Hardy short story, the tale of a farmer's daughter who falls for a German cavalry officer planning to desert from his regiment.
The Dam Busters - 1954
Filmed at Weymouth and The Fleet. Story of the destruction of the Ruhr dams in 1943 by Dr Barnes Wallis' bouncing bombs.
In Which We Serve - 1942
Film locations included Portland. Splendid British war film about survivors from a torpedoed destroyer who recall their life at sea and on leave.
Elizabeth - 1999
Film locations included Athelhampton House. Drama-documentary about the life and reign of Elizabeth I.
Sleuth - 1972
Film locations included Athelhampton House. Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine star. A successful thriller writer invents a murder plot which rebounds on himself.
The Thirty-Nine Steps - 1978
Filmed at Portland. Robert Powell starred in the remake of the John Buchan novel.