Written by Tom Deehan on Jul 19, 2016. Posted in On Location / Production News

BBC’s The Secret Agent shot on location in Edinburgh

The new BBC series The Secret Agent, which aired its first episode on Sunday, was filmed on location in the streets of Edinburgh. Adapted from Joseph Conrad’s novel of the same name, the show stars Toby Jones (Dad’s Army) as Verloc, the owner of a 19th century sex shop who soon becomes embroiled in a plot of political espionage between Britain and Russia.

The show takes place in 1886 with Verloc’s shop located in the heart of Soho, London. To recreate a period version of Soho, the production travelled to Scotland in search of a double.

Producer Priscilla Parish details the process: “in Thistle St Lane, central Edinburgh is a long cobbled street with similar proportions/size of buildings to nineteenth century Soho. The location also gave us a network of streets which really opens up the world of Soho and gives a feeling of scale. David Roger designed shop fronts and filled them with goods: second-hand instruments, a pawn shop, a couple of pubs.”

She continues: “Verloc’s shop was at one end of the street, and 150m away at the other end was a music hall from which all sorts of characters emerge. There is a bridge spanning the street with its facade covered in an advertisement for the real 19th century cemetery Necropolis train. Then it was a matter of populating the streets with people and animals. The finishing touches came in the mix – a mixture of languages, industry, and street-life.”

The Secret Agent joins the Starz series Outlander as projects that highlight the great potential of Scotland to double as various time periods throughout history. In Outlander, parts of Glasgow were used to recreate the 1940s before the show delved into its 18th century setting, branching out into the Scottish countryside.

High-end television shows that incur a minimum spend of GBP1 million per episode in the UK are entitled to claim a 25% tax rebate. This rebate has kept countless productions within the country including Game of Thrones and The Night Manager.


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