The highly anticipated season 2 of Bloodlands has hit our screens. But many viewers are wondering, where was Bloodlands filmed?
Following a successful first series that became Northern Ireland’s most watched BBC drama launch on record – 8.2 million viewers – created and written by Chris Brandon and executively produced by Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio, season 2 landed on Sunday 18th September on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. And after the success of other BBC dramas including The Capture, Crossfire and Inside Man, season 2 of Bloodlands is already a hit with viewers.
But as well as questioning the plot and cast, many fans of the show are now asking, where was Bloodlands filmed? Here are all the key locations that were used to film season 1 and 2.
Where is Bloodlands season 2 filmed?
Bloodlands is filmed in Belfast and the surrounding areas in Northern Ireland. Speaking about filming in his motherland, lead star James Nesbitt said: “I am very much an actor who is drawn to work in Northern Ireland.” Here are the locations that were used for Bloodlands season 2 filming.
Harland & Wolff shipyard, Belfast
Belfast’s Harland & Wolff shipyard plays a big role in Bloodlands, with the two yellow cranes frequently seen in serial killer Goliath’s calling cards.
Famous for building iconic ships such as the RMS Titanic and the HMS Belfast, Harland & Wolff’s cranes, Samson and Goliath, have been in operation since the mid-1960s, however the shipyard itself was founded almost 160 years ago.
Filming for Bloodlands took place on an island in the Strangford Lough, specifically the scenes in which police find the bodies of Goliath’s victims.
Speaking at the BFI Q&A, producer Jed Mercurio said of Strangford Lough: “It’s eerie, it’s austere, it can be beautiful, it can also be somewhere that you would enter with a sense of foreboding so it’s a great backdrop for a thriller.”
Queen’s University, Belfast
Considering that in episode one, we learn that Tom Brannick’s daughter Izzy is studying medicine at Queen’s University – it makes sense that filming took place at the Belfast-based college.
The university is located in the centre of Belfast, with the series filming outside the institution’s Main Site Tower and inside various lecture halls.
Episode 1 features several shots of Strangford Harbour, where we first see Pat Keenan’s four-by-four being pulled out of the water by police.
The harbour is located on the shores of Strangford, a small village in County Down, and shows stunning views of Ireland’s northeast coast..
Rosemary Street Masonic Hall, Belfast
The setting for the police station used by Tom Brannick and his team was a Masonic Hall on Rosemary Street, central Belfast, which was made up to look the part.
When was Bloodlands season 2 filmed?
Filming for Bloodlands 2 started in February 2022. The cast and crew were often spotted filming in Northern Ireland at the start of the year.
Lola Petticrew, who stars as James Nesbitt’s daughter in the series, revealed that filming had wrapped in May in an Instagram post. While co-star Victoria Smurfit said: “It’s been the most glorious job. It hasn’t been a job, it’s been a rocket ship of funny, professional happiness. Every single crew and cast member is a diamond.”
Everyone at @HTMTelevision is thrilled to have begun filming #Bloodlands Series 2 @BBCOne starring James Nesbitt and Victoria Smurfit https://t.co/2PkE5mTp19 https://t.co/w9AnUAn0LR pic.twitter.com/63GCfs63phFebruary 3, 2022
Bloodlands: Behind the Scenes filming
Speaking about filming in Northern Ireland, James Nesbitt said: “To see Strangford Lough and it’s so beautiful there, to be filming down in the Mountains of Mourne, to see in the beginning some of the opening shots, driving through Belfast with that fabulous soundtrack, looking at Harland & Wolff, Tom walking through a busy, a vibrant, youthful, emerging new Northern Ireland – it was very important to me.”
One photographer who saw the cast filming in Portaferry in February said: “I walked to the shoreline at Portaferry to catch the sunset and was lucky to see James Nesbitt and co filming for the second series of Bloodlands.”
Ropewalk Car Park Portaferry Conservation Area 22.2.22 (we like the date!) 15.49 No cars – just 3 flatbed trucks with cars atop from #bloodlands The TV series is filming in Portaferry this week maybe @JNesbittTV will ask followers to sign our petition! https://t.co/06Su2KrRjp pic.twitter.com/X0rYBKYwpSFebruary 22, 2022
#Bloodlands #Portaferry #jamesnesbitt filming for the new series has commneced at The Red Gable. Super excited to see this. pic.twitter.com/4XYSh4RlEnFebruary 23, 2022
How did I miss #bloodlands filming on my doorstep #strangfordlough #mournemountains pic.twitter.com/J95Rbytw4EFebruary 21, 2021
Speaking about season 2 and the significance of Olivia’s house as a new location, writer Chris Brandon said: “The land is a character. It was great to find Olivia’s house and it is something away from what you imagine of that area.
“It cuts through that landscape as a modern Shard. It represents Olivia really nicely. We go further down the coast this time and there are some stunning places to look at.”
Where was Bloodlands season 1 filmed?
Like season 2, season 1 of Bloodlands was also filmed in Northern Ireland. Locations included Strangford Lough, a Belfast Metropolitan College campus, in and around Queen’s University Belfast, the Mourne Mountains and on the streets of Ballyclare.
Season 1 was filmed in early 2020 and executive producer Jed Mercurio said that the cold winter weather made filming tough. He said: “Bloodlands was mainly filmed in the rural area around Strangford Lough, a rugged and beautiful location that serves as the eerie setting for the series.
“It looks amazing on camera but the weather can be quite challenging at times. We all made sure we had our thermals and waterproofs with us.”
And Lisa Dwan, who played Tori Matthews in season 1, recalled: “Jimmy [Nesbitt] and I had a series of very intense filming days up the Mourne Mountains. And I remember one day filming in a snow blizzard, having to make our way to set by jeep as the cars couldn’t make it up the mountain.
“Once I sat back into the car after a take and Lola Petticrew burst into a fit of giggles as I looked like an extra from [disaster movie] Alive, there were little mounds of snow caked over my lashes and my lips were blue!”
Where is Bloodlands set?
Bloodlands is set in the real-life setting of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, where much of the series is filmed. Strangford Lough is a large inlet in County Down, in the east of Northern Ireland. It is the largest inlet in Ireland and the British Isles, covering 150 km.
Writer Chris Brandon said about the idea for Bloodlands: “The idea comes from a distinct sense of place. I spent part of my life growing up in Strangford, a small village at the mouth of a lough in Northern Ireland. It’s a place that always sparked my imagination.
“The austere beauty of scarred and sodden hillsides, the windswept islands and bouldered shorelines always seemed, in themselves, to hold the memory of stories past.”
Related BBC features
Video of the Week