Warning: this post may include some very minor spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the book.
The first day’s shoot in Cornwall was at Holywell Bay, a beach on the west coast. Unfortunately, we were unaware of it.
The first day of filming in Cornwall that we witnessed included some of the opening scenes of Troubled Blood. Strike leaves The Victory Inn, St Mawes, after birthday drinks with his oldest friend, Dave Polworth, and heads down to the harbour wall where he is approached by Anna and Kim, his soon-to-be clients. They ask him to investigate the 1974 disappearance of Anna’s mother, Dr Margot Bamborough.
We were told that the scene inside the Victory with Polworth was filmed in a pub in London.
The night before the St Mawes shoot, we were in The Victory Inn for dinner and, after a few Doom Bars, decided to take a walk to the large car park where we suspected the filming base would be located. It was just after 9pm and lorries and vans were already arriving and setting up the Strike Troubled Blood Unit Base!
Some security members had to be on site through the night and were also guarding the coned-off parking spaces by the harbour wall to stop anyone parking there overnight. (The next morning we heard that a drunk woman had thrown some of the cones over the harbour wall!)
On the morning of Tuesday 8th March, we were up and out early in St Mawes for the filming outside The Victory. The shoot started around 8am. Some of the crew members, including head of security and one of his security team members, recognised us from the filming in Skegness a couple of weeks earlier. Alex Rendell the producer also recognised us and had a quick chat with us.
Director Kieron Hawkes (The Silkworm) had stepped in for Sue Tully for a few days.
Shortly before filming began, we met executive producer Ruth Kenley-Letts, who was so lovely and kind. She asked if we would like to be in a scene as extras! By this time, Tom Burke had arrived and we were soon sitting outside the Victory with our props — non-alcoholic beverages — ready for the first take. Tom/Strike leaves the pub with his pint of Guinness (not Doom Bar) and walks down the slope toward the harbour.
The next shots, after all of the equipment had been moved, were of Strike lighting a cigarette at the harbour wall before being approached by Anna, and then, shortly afterwards, Kim. There were quite a few takes for this scene at the wall. Later, it started to rain, which caused some delay. They had to try to film the scene in between showers.
The next scene filmed was of Strike and Lucy walking down Victory Hill toward the harbour and then turning right, past the Ship and Castle hotel and toward the ferry point. Strike was carrying a duffel bag. By this point the sun had come out again, which would work well if the scene was meant to be set on a different day.
As the sun started to go down, the crew packed up and headed to Freshwater Boatyard on the other side of St Mawes. We decided to walk there, which took ten or fifteen minutes. As we arrived, actress Sarah Sweeney (Lucy) and actor Ian Redford (Uncle Ted) passed us walking down to the boatyard. Ted gave us a smile.
We realised we wouldn’t be able to see anything once the dingies motored out, so we headed to the beach at St Mawes where we were able to get a distant view of the filming of “The Jowanet”.
The sunset was amazing, but there was a sad element to witnessing that scene. Book fans will be able to guess what scene they were filming.
Once the sun had set, we left for The Victory Inn to celebrate an amazing first day.
The following day’s filming was in Falmouth. Stay tuned to hear about that!