Where are all the Hitchin filming locations?
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Hitchin is a delightful little market town in the north of Hertfordshire. In the last few years it’s been used for a handful of TV drama and advert backdrops ranging from banks and grocery stores, through to futuristic dramas with humanlike robots. So where are all these Hitchin filming locations then? Here are five TV shows and five TV adverts for starters!
1. Doctor Foster – BBC – 2017
Most famously Hitchin featured as the location for BBC TV’s Doctor Foster, chiefly in its second series. The town’s Market Square doubled as the backdrop for many scenes in the fictitious town of Parminster. Visit the ‘Ride Hitchin’ bike shop which was the walkway leading up to the Parminster Courtyard community cafe. Or head up to Windmill Hill overlooking Hermitage Road where you can sit down on ‘Doctor Foster’s bench’. Find all the Hitchin filming locations at this dedicated Doctor Foster post.
2. Humans – Channel 4 – 2018
Humans is a Channel 4 science fiction TV series focusing on the impact of anthropomorphic humanlike robots called “synths”. This time Hitchin plays the fictitious town of Waltringham and features sporadically in series 3. Halsey’s Deli & Eatery along Churchyard plays a starring role as the ‘Waltringham Fruit and Veg’ grocery store, notable for selling “Human Picked Produce”.
The Market Square is the backdrop for a poignant memorial service at 3m 30s in series 3, episode 1. The most oft used of the Hitchin filming locations.
Also see Halsey’s at 7m 28s and and again at 12m 17s.
3. Lee and Dean – Channel 4 – 2018
Lee and Dean is a Channel 4 comedy show following the lives of “Stevenage” builders and childhood friends Lee and Dean. Stevenage is just down the road but Hitchin is used for some of the outdoor scenes. The Haven Cafe, The Cock pub and The Premier Inn feature in series 1 episode 1. None of these places appear to be used for any of the subsequent indoors shots though. That’s TV for ya! 🙂 In episode 4 we get to see the Henlow dog track just up the road. The second series comes out soon! Watch the first series here.
See the Haven Cafe at 10m 51s
The Cock appears at 12m 33s
Check out the Premier Inn at 22m 55s
4. Just William – BBC – 2010
Now I’d never heard of this one, but the Gallery Classroom at the British Schools Museum along Queen Street was used for this show’s Victorian classroom scenes. Based on the classic novels by Richmal Crompton it’s a children’s comedy series focusing on the antics of a rebellious schoolboy played by Daniel Roche (he of Outnumbered fame). Incidentally the museum is the no1 TripAdvisor sightseeing spot in Hitchin (just ahead of the Hitchin Lavender fields). They also filmed in the Hertfordshire locations of Benington Lordship, Walkern Hall and a school hall in Harpenden. Some more information on Just William here.
See the British Schools Museum below at 5s and 35s.
5. Gilbert’s Fridge – ITV – 1988
Now for a random one. Gilbert’s Fridge was a TV show back in the 1980s, a spin-off of ‘Get Fresh’ featuring Gareth Jones. One recurring scene is set in a POW camp where the closing theme music has the lyrics “It’s a long way to Hitchin“. No actual Hitchin locations appear in this one but it’s worthy of a little mention all the same!
Hear the Hitchin song below at 3m 45s.
Other notable mentions, but without any links so far are:
- Morse (used as parts of Oxford).
- Granchester (filmed at the British School Museum)
- One of the antiques programmes
- ‘Location, Location, Location’ and ‘Homes under the Hammer’
- The BBC’s coverage of the Golden Jubilee
- The Saint (starring Roger Moore was filmed on the railway sidings that were near the station in the sixties)
- Kavanah QC
- The Old Grey Whistle Test (at the Regal Chambers)
- Dragon’s Den (the pilot was possibly filmed in The Hermitage Bar)
Thank you Hitchin residents Sheila, Rob, Emily, Roy, Connie, Ben, Mark, Sophie and Dave for all the suggestions above 🙂
Now for those those TV ads! In the last few years we’ve had both Aldi and the Nationwide Building Society in town. The latest visitors were Boots in October when they filmed this year’s Christmas advert. So here are those Hitchin filming locations from the commercials.
6. Aldi – 2018
To promote the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang we see a bobblehat wearing man struggling home with his shopping bags across an “icy” Market Square. Gatward looking lovely in the background. The actor spins and swirls across the ground before flying into Halsey’s where we see Torvill and Dean enjoying a cuppa. Starbucks was renamed “Teapot and Bean”, The Rose and Crown pub was renamed ‘The Flailing Arms’ and the hideous monstrosity of the Churchgate Shopping Centre was given a fine Tudor CGI makeover! Can’t we make this permanent somehow? More information at The Drum.com.
7. Nationwide – 2016
In this one a little girl offers cakes (incidentally from Blossom Cakes and Bakes) to an elderly couple sat on a bench outside the Pitcher + Piano. She then wanders off down Hitchin’s best little walkway – Churchyard – from the Market Square towards St Mary’s church. Finally she pops into a haberdashery shop (the recently closed down Blue Otter Wines). Amusingly they never show the actual pretty-looking Nationwide shopfront but use a another of their branches from elsewhere. More information at Campaignlive.co.uk.
8. Boots – 2018
I watched the filming of this back in October. Once again the Market Square plays centre stage with a Christmas tree, some stalls and a tiered choir making it look all “Christmassy”. Waterstone’s gets replaced in the edit with a Boots store. I recall it being a wet and windy evening, not that you can see that in the advert! So a lot of preparation for just a few seconds screen time but Hitchin looked lovely on the TV all the same.
9. Bradford & Bingley – 2002
Back in 2002 one of the nation’s favourite comedians Hugh Laurie was seen ambling around the various fruit ‘n’ veg aisles of Hitchin Market to promote the building society’s ‘Marketplace’ product. There’s a nice aerial shot after 7 seconds of the market’s stripey roofs with St Mary’s church providing a picturesque backdrop.
10. Victoria Plum – 2015
I remember this one being set up in the Market Square and thinking “What on Earth is that?!” This TV advert was centred around a 5-metre tall animatronic fountain made solely out of toilets, baths and sinks. Once fully opened up, much like the petals of a flower, the whole thing spun round and came to life showering the passers-by with water. More information about the fountain advert here.
Have I missed any Hitchin filming locations? What might be next? Need any extras? 😉 While you’re still here check out when I was grabbed up on stage with magician Paul Daniels at Hitchin’s Market Theatre.