Where is Black Earth Rising filmed?

Hugo Blick and Michaela Coel discuss the decision to film in Ghana rather than Rwanda for the new political thriller

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 21:00:00 on 30/04/2018 - Programme Name: Black Earth Rising  - TX: n/a - Episode: Black Earth Rising - 'First Look' (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Kate Ashby (MICHAELA COEL) - (C) Drama Republic - Photographer: Des Willie

Black Earth Rising, the new drama from writer and director Hugo Blick, airs on BBC2 this September.

Advertisement

The eight-part drama stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a fiery young legal investigator whose world is turned upside down when her mother, Eve (Harriet Walter) agrees to prosecute a Rwandan war criminal for the International Criminal Court.

Eve, who adopted Kate from Rwanda during the genocide in the 1990s, appears to be harbouring a secret relating to the atrocities that occurred, which the case threatens to reveal. This ultimately pulls Kate and her boss Michael Ennis (John Goodman), into a cross-continental adventure to discover the truth.

This journey takes them to Rwanda, France, Switzerland, and the UK. But did they actually film in all of those locations?

Where was Black Earth Rising filmed?

Writer, director and producer Hugo Blick explains that the Black Earth Rising scenes set in Rwanda were actually filmed in Ghana.

“For reasons of political contention we couldn’t and wouldn’t go to Rwanda or Uganda,” Hugo Blick told RadioTimes.com. “So we came across to Ghana, which has the same geographical feel. I had spent so much time to be careful with the authenticity of the script, it behoved us to make the visuals authentic as possible.”

This worked well, as it gave star Michaela Coel a chance to visit her parents’ homeland for the first time.

“It was absolutely overwhelming and beautiful,” she says. “I went back again just for Christmas to go without, like, ‘Kate’ [her character]. To try and go as the girl whose parents are from Ghana.”


Oddly, Blick’s home also serves as a filming location for the series, in a scene featuring the writer himself as lawyer Blake Gaines.

The scene is filmed in Blick’s garage at the mill where he lives and works – but his homecoming was arguably less “beautiful” than Coel’s.

“The whole crew came to the mill to film some scenes with my character,” he explains. “I had a pretty horrific childhood with my parents, but they’re both now dead, and by hook or by crook their ashes have ended up in my garage.

“So during filming,” he says, through laughter, “I realised that a) it was the only time I’ve performed in front of my parents and b) finally we were a happy family, we were together!”

Advertisement

Black Earth Rising airs on Mondays at 9pm on BBC2