Ecosse Films’ upcoming six-part drama The Trial of Christine Keeler for BBC One, which takes a fresh look at the 1960s ‘Profumo Affair’, has wrapped following 17 weeks of filming at The Bottle Yard Studios and a host of Bristol locations.
The high-profile drama has been filming in the city since 3rd December 2018, with full production based here at The Bottle Yard, which also accommodated purpose-built sets housed in 15,000 sq ft of space. These included the interiors of Wimpole Mews (Stephen Ward’s home) and Marylebone Police Station.
Lead actors Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber, Ben Miles and Emilia Fox have also been filming around the city at more than 10 locations that have recreated 1960’s London, including Bristol Central Library (which will double for the exterior of Marylebone Police Station), offices above St Nicholas’ Market (the War Office and MI5), the Wills Memorial Building (the House of Commons) and the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House (a Mayfair restaurant and hotel room). Filming has also taken place at Goldney Hall, City Hall, Caledonia Place, Berkley Square, Corn Street, Small Street and Broad Street as well as eight days at The Guildhall in Bath.
Kate Triggs, Executive Producer says: “It has been a delight to make The Trial of Christine Keeler in Bristol. The Bottle Yard has been a wonderful and supportive home and along with the Film Office, has helped to make Bristol a great place to film. The locations have also been inspiring for the whole team. And the icing on the cake has been access to the best and loveliest crew and HoD’s I’ve ever worked with.”
Fiona Francombe, Site Director of The Bottle Yard Studios says: “Ecosse Films is a hugely impressive, multi award-winning production company, and no stranger to Bristol having made three series of Mistresses here. Douglas [Rae] first came out to take a look around our Studios in 2017 and we’ve been keen to be home to their next project ever since. Its therefore been a great pleasure to welcome Ecosse to The Bottle Yard for the making of The Trial of Christine Keeler, which promises to be an iconic and intriguing political drama.”
Natalie Moore of Bristol Film Office says: “The Trial of Christine Keeler will feature the largest number of Bristol locations used in a single drama for years, which is fantastic to see. We’ve worked closely with the production team and the many properties involved to make sure filming was a smooth process for everyone, including the public. It’s been a major project that has brought a great deal of employment and investment into the city, which is very satisfying. When viewers come to sit down and watch this fascinating story unfold on screen, they’ll be seeing Bristol as London, and we’re proud to have played our part in that.”
The Trial of Christine Keeler is written by BAFTA award-winning novelist and screenwriter Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard, Room at the Top, Life in Squares) and directed by Andrea Harkin (Come Home, Clique) and BAFTA-nominated Leanne Welham (Pill, Endeavour). Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gypsy, Red Joan) leads the cast in the role of Christine Keeler. James Norton (McMafia, War and Peace, Happy Valley) stars opposite Cookson in the role of Stephen Ward together with Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Nocturnal Animals) as Mandy Rice-Davies. Ben Miles (The Crown, The Last Post) will play John Profumo and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Delicious) stars as Valerie Profumo. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Angels in America, Mope) plays Johnny Edgecombe and Anthony Welsh (Journeyman, Black Mirror, Starred Up) plays Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.
At the centre of the storm is 19-year-old Christine Keeler (Cookson) – a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules. The Trial of Christine Keeler takes us behind the headlines to tell a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of one of the most revealing and iconic stories of modern times.
The Trial of Christine Keeler is an Ecosse Films and Great Meadow co-production for BBC One. Executive producers are Kate Triggs and Douglas Rae for Ecosse Films, Amanda Coe and Lucy Richer for BBC. The producer is Rebecca Ferguson. The series is commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama.