Succession: 11 things you didn’t know about the HBO comedy-drama that everyone’s talking about

From whether it’s really based on the Murdochs to the surprise improvised scenes - as season 3 begins, discover secrets from the HBO show on Sky Atlantic that you didn’t know...

By Sophia Moir Published: 18 October 2021 - 4.34pm
Succession on NOW TV

It received rave reviews from critics, was named The Guardian’s No.1 TV show of 2019 and its delayed return is one of the most eagerly awaited television events of 2021.

Now season 3 of Succession is back on Sky Atlantic with NOW - and seasons 1 and 2 are available to binge-watch at your leisure.

The high-end comedy-drama, about the family behind the biggest media company in the world, boasts a stellar cast including Brian Cox, Kieran Culkin and Matthew MacFadyen

Here are 11 things you might not have known about Succession as it returns to our TV screens...

1. The Waystar office scenes are filmed in the tallest building in the USA

Waystar Royco HQ is located in New York's One World Trade Center - the tallest building in the United States. This is largely for the views as you can see the stunning Manhattan skyline including Tribeca, Midtown and Lower Manhattan from the rooms.

Succession

2. The show is produced by Hollywood A-listers

Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are among the show's executive producers. Before Succession, McKay and Ferrell produced several other projects together, including Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The Big Short and Vice.

3. The actor who plays Greg is most similar to his character

Nicholas Braun, the Succession star who plays cousin Greg, was named by his co-stars as the actor who's most like his character. "Nick is almost indistinguishable," Brian Cox (Logan Roy) told The Hollywood Reporter.

4. Kieran Culkin wasn't supposed to play Roman

Culkin was sent the script to play the part of Greg, but after reading it found he associated more with the character of Roman.

"There was something that clicked with me and this character that's something I still don't understand, and probably don't want to understand, considering the kind of guy he is," Culkin told The Hollywood Reporter.

You might also recognise Kieran as a child star who appeared in films including Father of the Bride and Home Alone, alongside older brother Macaulay Culkin.

5. The show’s British creator is a top sitcom writer

British writer Jesse Armstrong created Succession - his first foray into a big budget US drama series. In the UK, he’s well known for co-creating British sitcoms Peep Show and Fresh Meat with Sam Bain, as well as writing on comedy The Thick of It and its 2009 spin-off film, In the Loop.

6. Spot the scenes filmed in the UK...

Though largely filmed in New York City, the cast and crew of Succession also flew across the Atlantic to film in the UK. Filming of some scenes in season 1 took place at Eastnor Castle near Ledbury in Herefordshire, while season 2 also saw the Roys back in the UK, with filming taking place in Dundee in Scotland.

While season 3, produced under Covid-19 regulations, didn't visit the UK, filming wasn't confined to New York as cast and crew filmed in Richmond, Virginia and Tuscany, Italy.

7. It’s definitely not based on the Murdochs...

Despite rumours that the show is based on media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family, the show’s creator Jesse Armstrong insists it definitely isn’t. In an interview with The Guardian, Armstrong insisted: “It’s not bullsh*t to say it really isn’t the Murdochs."

He suggested that the comparison comes from there being a lack of high-profile media barons in the UK. “It could be a parochial view – that because it’s a media family, it must be the Murdochs,” he explained.

8. ...Although some Murdochs have been watching!

Speaking backstage at the 2020 Golden Globes, Brian Cox (who plays Logan Roy) said he was approached by the husband of Elisabeth Murdoch - the second daughter of Rupert Murdoch.

According to USA Today, Elisabeth and husband Keith Tyson are fans of the show, with Elisabeth relating to the character of Siobhan 'Shiv' Roy.

Jerry Hall, Rupert's fourth wife, is also said to be a fan of the show.

9. There's one scene that's entirely improvised

Adam McKay - the show's executive producer and director - likes to incorporate improvisation on set, but he got some resistance when he asked the cast of Succession to totally improvise one scene. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, McKay revealed that Logan's birthday meal in season 1 was 'entirely improvised'.

10. Brian Cox made Logan Roy Scottish

Brian Cox originally suggested that Logan Roy be Scottish and born in Cox's native Dundee, but the idea was rejected by the show's writers, according to an interview he gave with The Scotsman. They said that the character of Logan Paul was written as an American citizen who had been born in Quebec, Canada. But towards the end of filming for series one, it was revealed to Cox that they'd changed his character's birthplace to Dundee after all!

Brian Cox

11. Succession season 4 is on the cards - but it could be the Roys' last chapter

Business intrigue, internecine skullduggery and world-class swearing apart, we have no idea what Succession season 3 has in store but fans of the series are already looking ahead to season 4. 

While another series of the drama has yet to be commissioned, writer and executive producer Georgia Pritchett has suggested that at least one more season is possible.

"I think the maximum would be five seasons, but possibly more like four," she said in an interview with The Times in June 2021.

"We’re at the end of filming season three, so at this point [creator Jesse Armstrong] is saying only one more. But that happens every time. We’ve got a good end in sight."

Armstrong admits that once Logan's successor is named, the show will have come to its natural end.

"There’s going to be a very definite moment when that story is over, and it can’t go on too long," he told the New Statesman in September 2021.

"I think there’ll be an end for me in this incarnation of the show in… a bit," he added.

Watch Succession season 3 on Sky Atlantic with the NOW Entertainment Membership from October 18.  

Succession season 1 and 2 box set are available to watch on Sky Atlantic with the NOW Entertainment Membership.

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