Location, Location, Location. It’s a mantra we may mutter to ourselves when we’re looking for a new home, but it’s also an enticing factor in the TV programmes we watch. Many TV programmes are set or filmed in lush locations that can cause wanderlust and inspire you to max out your credit card and book a flight so you can explore the destination with your own eyes. Lest we forget that the moving image is considered as a window onto the world where we can visit exotic lands without ever leaving the comfort of our own homes. With this in mind, this week’s blog takes a look at the settings for a few programmes that may encourage you to make a pilgrimage in homage of your favourite TV show. You have been warned!

 

Indian Summers is a period drama set in the 1930s and follows the decline of the British Empire and the birth of new India.The show is set in Simla, which was where Britons used to retreat to during the hot summers. Should you fancy a cocktail in Cynthia Coffin’s Royal Simla Club, you will need to visit Malaysia, not India, where the programme was shot entirely on location in Penang. The producers felt that Simla had become too modernised, apparently Sri Lanka was also considered. Series 2 is currently airing on Channel 4 on Sunday nights and I suggest you check it out!

 

If you fancy more of a short-haul destination, you should watch Inspector Montalbano, which is set in sun-drenched Sicily. Andrea Camilleri, who created the character and penned the novels, is Sicilian and the island permeates both the books and the TV show. Set in the fictional town of Vigata, viewers enjoy watching the adventures of the gruff Inspector who is as passionate about local cuisine as he is catching criminals.The programme is filmed in towns and villages along the south-eastern coast of Sicily, including Ragusa and Scicli.You can even stay in the Inspector’s home in the real life town of Punta Secca and enjoy breakfast on the terrace, just as he does. The influx in tourism has helped the town, however filming may have to move to Puglia due to a lack of tax breaks from the island’s government, so you may wish to visit soon!

 

If sunshine and warm weather isn’t for you, you may be drawn to the wintery romance and drama of War and Peace. Based on the epic, classic novel by Leo Tolstoy, the drama is set in nineteenth-century Russia and follows the fortunes of a small group of aristocrats who find their glittering world crumbling as Napoloen’s sweeping forces threaten to overwhelm Imperial Russia. Starring Clémence Poésy (who you can currently see in series 2 of The Tunnel on Sky Atlantic), Malcolm McDowell and Brenda Blethyn, this magnificent production stayed faithful to the novel and was filmed on location in Saint Petersburg and Lithuania. Broadcaster Clive James was so bowled over by Poésy’s performance that he described her portrayal as “a Natasha from heaven”. Due to the popularity of the novel, it has been filmed many times, including the BBC’s recent adaptation starring Paul Dano, Lily James and James Norton. 

 

Closer to home is the hugely popular British crime show, Midsomer Murders. Set in fictional, picturesque British villages the programme has become an institution and popular with both fans at home and abroad who are intrigued by the quaint, stereotypically English villages which are always bathed in sunlight and have dangerously high murder counts! There is even a website dedicated to helping fans plan a trip to some of the filming locations for those who are keen to follow in the footsteps of their favourite characters. Filming has taken place in Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Now in its eighteenth series, you can now purchase a Midsomer Murders themed version of Cluedo where players have to find out who has killed wealthy businesswoman Elizabeth Jones whose body has been found in Badger’s Drift with the police suspecting foul play!

 

Has a TV programme ever inspired you to travel? Have you ever made a TV pilgrimage? Let us know in the comments!

 Inspector Montalbano