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.
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.
Creator: Julie Wassmer Starring: Kerry Godliman, Howard Charles, Sophia Del Pizzo, Frances Barber Production Company: Buccaneer Media Kent Locations Used: Whitstable, Canterbury, Faversham, Herne Bay, Margate, Ramsgate, Detling, Dover, Sevenoaks, Rochester
Based on the much loved series of novels ‘The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries’ by Kent resident Julie Wassmer (EastEnders, London’s Burning), Whitstable Pearl (2021-2022) is a detective series for Acorn TV. The story follows big-hearted local restaurant owner Pearl Nolan (Kerry Godliman) who sets up a local detective agency after undergoing police training in an earlier career. She is soon embroiled in her first case when she discovers the body of close friend, Vinnie. Pearl forms an unlikely partnership with DCI Mike McGuire (Howard Charles) and finds herself pulled into the dark underbelly of the picturesque town she calls home.
For both Series 1 and 2, most of the filming took place in and around Whitstable itself, including scenes filmed by the coast at Whitstable Harbour, Whitstable Beach, Whitstable Yacht Club and Tankerton Beach. In Series 1, Whitstable High Street features and local shops were filmed including Iain’s Plaice (fish and chip restaurant) and art gallery Chappell Contemporary as Houlihan’s Hardware store. Other Whitstable businesses filmed for Series 1 include the Cemetery, Football Ground, MFA Bowl and Seaview Holiday Park, which features as the trailer park where Vinnie lives. Several private residences were used for filming, including Beacon House as Pearl’s House for Series 1, the exterior of The Ness as Mike’s Flat in Series 2 Episode 2, The Warehouse Cottages for the same episode, and various private residences on Island Wall for Series 2 Eps 1 and 2. Filming took place at The Old Neptune pub, which doubled as the Pearson’s Arms for both series. Whitstable train station also features briefly in Series 2 Ep 2 as Pearl trails a suspected cheating spouse.
The Kent Events Centre was used as a studio build location in Series 1 for interiors of Pearl’s seafood restaurant.
Meanwhile, Margate in Thanet features in both series with Margate Beach and The Walpole Hotel doubling for Whitstable seaside scenes in Series 1, Dreamland and the Nayland Rock Hotel featuring in Series 2 as a theme park and The Bradford Hotel. For Series 1, production also filmed at St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Canterbury Road in nearby Westgate-on-Sea. The Port of Ramsgate and Royal Harbour Marina double for the Port of Dover cruise terminal and Dover Marina in Series 1.
Dover features multiple times in Series 2, with locations such as The White Cliffs, Port of Dover, Lydden Spout Battery and Western Heights making an appearance in Episode 1, along with various nearby roads. The Citadel also appears in both series, doubling as a police station. The Citadel also features in Series 1 as a children’s home, and in Series 2 Episode 1 the location’s tunnels feature as the setting for the dramatic confrontation between Kruz Tomlin (Yaw Nimako-Asamoah) and his stepfather Leo (Oliver Walker).
Rochester High Street in Medway appears in Series 2, with local businesses Baggin’s Book Bazaar, Kiss the Bride and a former Estate Agents featuring in Episodes 2 and 3.
Interior scenes for Series 1 were filmed at the former St Martin’s Hospital in Canterbury doubling as a police station and a hospital. Other filming locations for Series 1 include a field near Faversham at Belmont Park and private residence in Herne Bay.
Beacon House is a colonial clapboard wooden turn of the century Beach House. Set above beach on a private sea road, the grounds include wild woodland gardens and views out to sea and lines of beach huts. Catastrophe Series 4 (2019) filmed at this location.
The Kent Events Centre based in Detling is the largest, most flexible conference and exhibition venue in Kent, offering 7,000 sqm of indoor space available to film productions as studio space and 200 acres of outdoor space.
The Port of Ramsgate offers 32 acres of dedicated Port Land including 3 modern Ro-Ro bridges and Water and bunker facilities on all berths. It is often used as ‘stand-in’ for the Port of Dover. Royal Harbour Marina offers 700 finger moorings set in a picturesque and historic harbour setting. Crime dramas to previously film at the Port of Ramsgate include The Tunnel: Vengeance (2017) and Baptiste (2019).
Dover houses the major port, connecting the UK with the European mainland. Dover Castle towers above the town, signalling Dover’s strategic importance in the defence of the country and the White Cliffs are one of the most recognised landmarks in Britain. Recent productions to have filmed in Dover include Pistol (2022), Rogue Agent (2022), and The Tunnel: Sabotage (2016).
The Citadel, located on Dover‘s Western Heights was constructed in the late 1700’s as a port of defence during the Napoleonic war. Most recently it has been used as a borstal, prison, and immigration detention centre up until its closure in 2015. It is now becoming popular as a filming location and has welcomed several productions over the past year – soon to broadcast.
The town of Sevenoaks has a varied landscape, featuring a bustling high street, stately homes and castles as well as beautiful countryside. Located in that countryside is the St Clere Estate, which offers stunning views of the North Downs, formal gardens, paddocks, a kitchen garden, orangery, green houses, and a temple by the lake. Built in 1630, it has some fine architectural examples of the Caroline era. It has recently played host to a variety of productions including The Great (2020-2021), Gangs of London (2020-2022) and The Third Day (2020).
Part of Sky Art’s 2017 Comedy Short series, Morgana Robinson’s Summer is set on a hot day in Margate and centres around a heavily pregnant Trish. When friends and family gather for her baby shower, a secret is revealed which causes tempers to flare.
The comedy short filmed in various locations in Margate including Marine Terrace, Market Street and the Lifeboat pub.
This Christmas, the BBC offers a new three part adaptation of E.F. Benson’s Mapp & Lucia novels set in 1930 in the quaint village of Tilling. The eccentric residents live in a world filled with gossip and petty one up-manship and the village’s renowned schemers, Miss Elizabeth Mapp and Mrs Emmeline Lucas, battle for social supremacy over garden produce, bridge and a fund-raising fete.
The mini-series is a satire, adapted and starring Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Benidorm) and directed by Diarmuid Lawrence (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Emma).
Miranda Richardson (Parade’s End, The Phantom of the Opera) plays Mapp with Anna Chancellor (Pramface, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) as Lucia. Starring alongside the pair are Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Match Point Match Point), Frances Barber (Silk, Doctor Who), Felicity Montagu (Alan Partridge, Bridget Jones’s Diary), and Gemma Whelan (The Wolfman, Gulliver’s Travels).
In July 2013, the Mapp and Lucia production team filmed in Kent when they visited period railway Kent & East Sussex Railway‘s Tenterden Station.