Director: Ellie Heydon
Starring: Lily Allen, Freema Agyeman, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Gabby Best, Frances Barber, Kiell Smith-Bynoe
Production Company: Merman
Kent Locations Used: Margate, Dreamland Margate, Margate Winter Gardens, Westbrook Bay
Set in the seaside town of Margate, Dreamland (2023) follows Trish, who is expecting her third child and is desperate for a baby girl. Supported by younger sisters Clare and Leila, her mum and legend Nan, the family’s world is thrown upside down upon the return of sister Mel.
Based on Sharon Horgan’s (This Way Up (2021), Catastrophe (2019)) BAFTA-winning short film, the six-part series is directed by Ellie Heydon (Harlots (2017), The Colour of Spring) and stars Lily Allen as Mel, Freema Agyeman (Little Dorrit (2008), Doctor Who) as Trish, Aimee-Ffion Edwards (Peaky Blinders, Detectorists) as Leila, Gabby Best (Morgana Robinson’s Summer (2017), The Marijana Method) as Clare, Frances Barber (Mapp and Lucia (2014), Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022)) as their mother, and Kiell Smith-Bynoe (Ghosts, Stath Lets Flats) as Trish’s husband Spence.
The series is set in Margate, and production made use of many locations in the seaside town. Margate Main Sands and Tidal Pool feature in Episodes 1 & 2 and the King’s Steps feature in Episode 3. Margate Harbour Arm features in Episodes 2 & 3 in a dramatic scene between Mel and Spence. The exterior of Trish’s dream fixer-upper home was filmed on Dalby Road. Various other roads feature in the series, including Marine Terrace, Marine Drive, Ethelbert Road, Palm Bay Avenue, Northdown Road and Princess Margaret Avenue. Westbrook Bay features in Episode 1, and Margate Lido appears in both Episode 4 & 5.
Dalby Café in Margate appears in Episode 2, where Trish and Spence discuss buying a house together. The Old Kent Market features in Episode 3, Margate Winter Gardens in Episode 4, Cinque Ports Restaurant in Episode 5, and Sands Hotel in Episode 6.
In Episode 2, Mel and Trish take Trish’s children for a day out to Dreamland. The children ride on the Chairoplane, Helter Skelter, Dodgems and skate at the Roller Disco. The Hall of Mirrors is the site of a confrontation between Mel and Spence, and the Dreamland car park is where Leila crashes her car and meets London hipster Dom (Hugh Coles).
Margate is a seaside town complete with sandy beach, harbour, amusement park, period housing and ultra-modern art gallery Turner Contemporary. It is a very popular filming location, having been the setting for Sam Mendes’ ninth film Empire of Light (2023), as well as many others.
Considered to be the oldest-surviving amusement park in Great Britain, Dreamland dates back to the early 1860s and was revamped in 2017. The park has a Roller Room, vintage arcades, a fully restored Grade II listed Art Deco ballroom and beautiful rides dating from 1920 to the present day. Recent productions to have filmed at the park include Series 4 of Killing Eve (2018-2022), Series 2 of Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022) and Two Weeks to Live (2020).
The Margate Winter Gardens date all the way back to 1911, and the building itself is a fine example of Edwardian architecture. The building is currently closed to the public.
Dreamland (2023) launched on Sky Atlantic and NOWTV on Thursday 6th April 2023.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.