Flesh and Blood: Where is the ITV mystery filmed?

The coastal location plays a key role in the gripping new mystery series, which has been compared to the smash hit drama Broadchurch. But where was it filmed?

By Alex Fletcher Published: 25 February 2020 - 12.55pm
ITV

Flesh and Blood starts with a body on a beach - but the identity of the victim and the culprit is unclear.

An enthralling opening to a family drama, packed with twists, secrets and betrayals, you’re going to be hooked to the ITV drama.

Alongside an incredible cast including Imelda Staunton, Stephen Rea and Russell Tovey, Flesh and Blood’s seaside setting also plays a key role in the series.

Where is Flesh and Blood filmed?

Imelda Staunton walking on the Sussex beach filming the ITV drama Flesh and Blood ITV

A large amount of the series was filmed on location in Normans Bay and Eastbourne.

The West Sussex coast provides a stunning setting for the dark mystery, which is expected to drive up tourism to the area in a similar fashion to the Broadchurch effect on Dorset.

Pevensey Bay Life said: "How much the residents of Normans Bay will enjoy their new-found fame is a different question.

"The distinct landscape is both striking and dramatic, somewhat removed from the feel of other seaside locations in East Sussex, a little stark perhaps, but this is what gives the place individuality and, for some people who live here, a breathtaking idiosyncratic beauty."

Why was the beach location chosen?

Imelda Staunton, Russell Tovey and the cast of Flesh and Beach sit on a beach bench in the sunshine ITV

"I wanted it to be like a modern parable, you've got the sea - which you've got no control over - you've got the shingle and the two houses," said director Louise Hooper. 

"A bit like a theatre stage, you've got the characters that come into that. There's no town or city, we’re not anchored to anything so it floats in its own little heightened story.

"We're trying to do something different from the gritty, monochromatic noir which is very plot and detail driven. It’s something which is light and funny and joyful I hope."

Writer Sarah Williams said that the setting was chosen because of her own memories of growing up on the Kent coast.

"The sea is soothing and good for the soul, but also ravaging and relentless – a bit like families," she said. 

"Plus a house on the beach would give me the isolation I wanted for this family, and be a place where you really depend on the support of your neighbours. Then there are the visuals of course. We were so lucky with the weather when we shot this, we had bright sunshine and big blue skies which contrast nicely with the rising family tensions."

Did the cast love Eastbourne?

Imelda Staunton looks out onto the sea in Flesh and Blood ITV

Putting it lightly, the cast were blown away. Stephen Rea described the setting as "absolutely unbelievable" and "tremendous".

Co-star Russell Tovey agreed: "The family home is on the beach, so you can walk up from the sea into the house. It was an amazing location," he said. 

"Eastbourne is lovely. I had no idea. Really beautiful.

"We filmed in the summer for a drama that is set in the summer. On many occasions you film dramas that are meant to be set in the summer and it’s actually winter when you are shooting. You are on a beach with shorts on and it is freezing. That’s when you really have to give it some serious acting. This was lovely so should look great on screen.

"In contrast to that lovely childhood home, Jake lives alone in a very grim flat."

Francesca Annis even found a personal connection with the seaside town. "Vivien and Mary’s houses are right on the beach front. It was amazing. You opened the door and the sand came up to the porch. It was a blistering sunny summer when we filmed," she said.

"Absolute heaven!

"I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne while filming during the summer of 2019. And I have pictures of my mother on holiday at the same hotel in 1919 - exactly 100 years before me. I was incredibly moved by that. To think I was staying at the same place that my mother had stayed in a century before, I found that very moving."

Flesh and Blood airs on ITV over four nights from February 24 to 27.

Don't miss an episode on BT TV, and catch up when it suits you on the ITV Hub app.