The Pact filming locations: Where was the BBC crime thriller filmed?

If the jaw-dropping twists and turns of BBC thriller The Pact don't have you hooked then the stunning views of Wales will. Find out more about where the drama was filmed.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 19 May 2021 - 10.23am

It’s not just the dramatic twists and turns and incredible cast that got us hooked to new BBC One drama thriller The Pact.

It’s also the beauty and atmosphere created by the stunning locations across South East Wales.

Filmed on location and in studios, the series was shot across various spots that Welsh locals will recognise including Pontsticill, Rhymney, Pontsarn, Merthyr Tydfil, Marshfield and Usk.

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Keep reading to find out where the dramatic series was filmed and what the cast and crew thought of the picturesque landscapes.

Why was The Pact filmed in Wales?

Laura Fraser playing Anna in The Pact BBC

“Our diverse, cinematic Welsh locations are almost characters in themselves,” said writer and creator Pete McTighe.

“The beauty and bleakness of the woods, the honeyed warmth of the brewery, the cool grandeur of the Evans mansion and the scale and menace of the looming viaducts add both production value and atmosphere."

Producer Elwen Rowlands added: “It was hugely important to set and film The Pact in Wales for all involved. Both Pete and I wanted to portray the contemporary Wales that is our home.

“The strong sense of community, the diversity, the variety of accents, the landscape.  Little Door was set up in Wales in 2019, and as an indigenous producer it’s important for us to always film our shows locally where possible, supporting local talent, showcasing new talent and making the most of the great locations on our doorstep.”

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Where was The Pact filmed in Wales?

The lead cast of The Pact on location in Wales BBC

Key locations you’ll see in the show include the Pontsarn Viaduct in Merthyr, the Pontsticill Reservoir and, most frequently, the Rhymney Brewery in Blaenavon.

The historic brewery, which is the workplace of the lead characters, is still open to the public and produces popular ales.

Talking about the stunning backdrop to the drama, Julia Hesmondhalgh, who plays Nancy, said: “We filmed in some completely beautiful places. The woods at Pontsticill are where a lot of the action takes place and you'll see that beautiful landscape in all climates. It's a stunning place.

“Our first location was Rhymney Brewery in the Valleys, right next to [mining museum] Big Pit and surrounded by mountains. It was the end of the summer then and absolutely boiling. It was a gorgeous drive to location every day from Cardiff. We also filmed around Usk which was a beautiful little town and at St Mary's Church in Marshfield, which I loved.”

Jason Hughes, who plays detective Max, added: “Just watching some of the aerial shots it felt like the beginning of The Shining when he’s taking the road up to the house. I was blown away. It was amazing seeing all the drone shots of the extraordinary land.”

What did the cast think of Wales?

Aneurin Barnard returned to his homeland for the BBC series

“I know this sounds like such a generalised statement but the Welsh people are the kindest, most generous people, they’re so sweet,” said Laura Fraser, who plays Anna.

“There’s this culture at work where everybody gives each other presents all the time – I’ve never seen that at work. Usually you just get presents at the end but every week you see someone giving presents to somebody and you think ‘I’ll start doing that too!’ and even if it’s a wee bar of chocolate you bring it in for someone.

“You’d see one of the runners giving a driver a crossword book and it’s just so lovely.”

Aneurin Barnard, who plays Jack in the show, was thrilled with his homecoming series.

“It was very special for me to be back in Wales filming again,” he said.

“I have lived away from Wales for well over a decade now, so any chance I get to be back in my home country working is very special and personal to me. It’s something I hope to do a lot more of, as I love the creatives and crews that we have in Wales.”

What was it like filming during the pandemic?

Laura Fraser, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Eiry Thomas filming The Pact BBC

“The Pact has been hugely challenging. Our lawyers said we have had a career’s worth of experience on this one show, and it’s certainly felt like that,” said producer Hayley Manning.

“It’s been a rollercoaster journey but with a resulting show we very proud of.

“Production on The Pact was suspended due to the pandemic on our last day of prep in March 2020. We had to deal with the immediate fallout of what were unprecedented circumstances and then focus our minds on how to re-start and at what cost.

“We spent four months dealing with suspension, re-working scripts, re-financing the additional Covid costs, and looking at the Covid safety measures required to be able to resume production safely. We eventually resumed prep in August with only a handful of other dramas in a Covid production landscape that was changing daily.

“The additional pressures the pandemic put on the team was tremendous and at any point you knew your phone could ring with another Covid issue and potentially the production could be suspended.  With a few bumps along the way together with our amazing cast and crew we managed to finish filming a couple of weeks before Christmas.

“There was a huge sense of achievement amongst the team and although Covid took over the creative many times, we are delighted with what we have produced.”

Watch The Pact on BBC One on Mondays and Tuesdays and on BBC iPlayer.

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