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The British Islands of TV and Film

Dotted all around Britain, countless isles and islands stand in defiance of the mainland. With nearly 200 inhabited islands and even more uninhabited gems, these remote locations make for both mysterious and romantic backdrops. From quaint tidal isles to windswept archipelagos to rugged, forgotten worlds, these stunning locations have set the scene for many famous TV series and films.

The most magnificent backdrops imaginable, here are the British islands of TV and film:

Tresco 

One of the most beautiful of all Britain’s islands, Tresco of the Isles of Scilly has seen its fair share of glamour. Naturally showstopping with its incredible scenery, the island has also turned heads for its role in the 2001 British drama film, Archipelago. Directed by Joanna Hogg and starring Tom Hiddleston (perhaps best known for his portrayal of Marvel’s mythical bad boy, Loki), the plot revolves around a local family living on the island.

Isle of Mull

The white-sand beaches and clear seas of the Scottish Hebrides could convince you into thinking you’d accidentally found your way to the Med – well, except for the freezing water temperatures, and the accents. The second largest of these islands, the Isle of Mull is well-known for its wildlife and natural aesthetics and was used as the location for 2014’s Silent Storm with Damian Lewis and 1999’s Entrapment with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Burgh Island 

Burgh island is a dramatic tidal island on Devon’s south coast. Peppered with a handful of buildings, it most famously features the Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel, whose notable visitors include the Beatles and Winston Churchill. Instantly intriguing, the island captured the attention of Agatha Christie and was used as the setting for two of her works: And Then There Were None and the Hercule Poirot mystery Evil Under the Sun.

Anglesey

The amazing Anglesey is the largest island in Wales. Sat just off the country’s north west coast, its 260 square miles include a land rich in history, culture and mind-blowing scenery. A magnet for location scouts, Anglesey is no stranger to the silver screen and was used as a location for the international movies Dolittle (2020) and Clash of the Titans (2010), as well as the popular 2018 Welsh crime drama, Hidden.

Guernsey

With its jaw-dropping coastline, picturesque villages and rich history, it’s not hard to see why Guernsey in the middle of the Channel Islands has repeatedly found itself used as the backdrop for major films and television series. Perhaps its most famous feature though is the 2018 film The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a feel-good historical drama starring Lily James.

Isle of Man

Located in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, the Isle of Man is a sea-bound kingdom with stunning landscapes. Another island to grace our television screens and capture imaginations everywhere, one of the Isle of Man’s most famous performances was in the 2004 TV mini-series, Island at War. Based on events of the Second World War, the series follows the life of an island community thrown into turmoil after the invasion of the Nazis. 

Isle of Skye 

Embodying all that makes Scotland, Scotland, it be hard for even the most seasoned travellers to be anything but blown away by the Isle of Skye. Home to vast, unspoilt landscapes with towering peaks, roaring waterfalls and glassy lakes, it is full of cinematic gold. Remote as it is, filming here is quite a challenge yet just some of the productions that have been shot here include Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), The BFG (2016) and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017).

Osea Island

The pocket-size Osea Island is a 380-acre inhabited island situated in the tidal River Blackwater in Essex. Connected to the land by a causeway that disappears at high water, this enchanting setting was recently used as the setting for Sky's 2020 psychological thriller, The Third Day. A haunting island said to have a “special atmosphere”, the island was dubbed perfect for the eerie drama that stars Naomie Harris, Emily Watson and Jude Law. 

Shetland

North of mainland Scotland, the remote island of Shetland provides a unique location for television productions. With its very own namesake in the form of TV crime drama Shetland, the island has taken on a new double identity. In the brooding mystery series, DI Jimmy Perez (played by Douglas Henshall) must try and solve a surprising number of murders ravaging the island’s tiny population.

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