Written by Shona Smith on Jan 9, 2020. Posted in On Location

ITV factual drama White House Farm avoided filming in real life Essex location

The series is based on the 1985 case where five members of the same family were murdered at an Essex farmhouse. The drama details the police investigation which followed and the contested accounts of the events that took place at White House Farm.

The six-part factual drama from New Pictures for ITV was based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts of the investigation. The series shot on location in Essex, but avoided filming in the vicinity of the family’s farm out of respect.

However, as Director Paul Whittington (Hatton Garden, Vera) notes the drama relied upon the house as a key location. "The house we used to depict the house at White House Farm was key. Firstly for its setting in rural Essex, its isolation and beauty. Also crucially what ultimately tipped the balance for us in terms of that particular location was the interior layout of that house which was very similar to the original house itself”. Executive Producer Willow Grylles explains “by the end of this drama we wanted to ensure viewers had a clearer understanding of some of the contested areas in this crime story. So finding a house with a layout as close as possible to the original White House Farm was really important to us”.

However, the series did go on to film in Chelmsford Crown Court, where the trial took place in 1986. “We filmed in the next door courtroom to the one actually used for Jeremy Bamber’s trial. That was just a logistical issue. The courtroom we used hadn’t really changed in over 30 years” says Whittington. To add to the authentic feel of the series “We took a decision right from the start to shoot the ‘news’ footage of the funeral with cameras from that time so it looks like the TV news film would have looked. The best way to achieve those results is to go back and get the cameras from as close to that period as you can”.

Image Credit: New Pictures

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