DCI Banks: On the trail of Stephen Tompkinson’s inspector in North Yorkshire

Ever wondered about the whereabouts of Banks' lovely cottage and scenic thinking place? We investigate...


DCI Banks lives in the fictional town of Eastvale in North Yorkshire.


As devotees of Peter Robinson’s books will know, Eastvale is modelled on Ripon and Richmond – handsome historic towns with cobbled market squares – although the author’s added so many new suburbs over the years that it must be as big as a city.

In ITV’s adaptation, Eastvale is more akin to Leeds and Bradford. In fact, it’s filmed in both: the interior of Banks’ police station is a building on the outskirts of Leeds and the exterior is in Bradford.

“We shoot all over Yorkshire,” explains producer Anne-Louise Russell. “Anywhere that we can get to for a day’s filming. What’s great about the series is that sometimes it can be the middle of the town centre and that could be in Leeds or Bradford. And sometimes we might be going to a farmhouse in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales.”

We try to keep it true to life. If we were in an urban area of Leeds, we wouldn’t prettify that. We show off the beauty of the Dales when we go there, but there can also be a bleak aspect to the Yorkshire countryside and the landscape will often echo the storylines.”

Below, Russell reveals the locations in the current series as well as Banks’s scenic getaways…

 Find the perfect cottage in the Yorkshire Dales

Ilkley Moor

Ilkley Moor has had lots of cameos in DCI Banks. Most dramatically, it was where the detective confronted a boy and his desperate father at a famous rock formation – the Cow and Calf Rocks. This time around, you’ll spy Ilkley Moor when Banks visits a farmer (there are sweeping views for miles from his rundown cottage), and when he races to a creepy abandoned warehouse in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

The Cow & Calf Rocks, Ilkley

“What I love about Ilkley is how it can change within a few minutes,” says Russell. “You can have glorious sunshine, blue skies and the colours of the heather will be amazing, and then within 10 minutes the fog can come down. So you can have this bleak feeling or this beautiful moorland.”

Like Harrogate, Ilkley is a spa town with lots of lovely tea shops. If DCI Banks ever finds himself with time to kill, he should take a long bracing stroll followed by a pot of tea and a scone.

Kex Gill Moor

“The place where Banks goes to think is on Kex Gill Moor, near the village of Blubberhouses in North Yorkshire, which is part of the Bolton Abbey Estate.” In episode five, Banks doesn’t have much time to think when he finds himself in a car chase in these parts.

Adel Woods

The woodland in episode one is actually Adel Woods, which can be found between the Leeds suburbs of Adel and Alwoodley. When crime isn’t afoot, it’s a popular spot with walkers.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

The barge in episode one is moored on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, just outside of the city centre. “This is a wonderful waterway, full of history, which you can walk, cycle or take a boat trip on, visiting interesting sights such as Salts Mill near Bradford.”

Signpost on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Bradford Town Hall

Look out for the interior of Bradford Town Hall. “We’ve got a long-running storyline about an unscrupulous property developer played by Shaun Dooley and this is where Banks confronts him.

Bradford Town Hall

You’ll see some lovely shots of Stephen striding through the oak-panelled corridors and beautiful tiled floors. That was a really lovely interior location that blew me away.”

Kirkgate Market

He also meets him at Kirkgate Market in Leeds, which is an old indoor market. “It’s full of character and a mix of old and new architecture.

Banks’ cottage

Some lucky soul lives in Banks’s cottage when he’s not there. It’s also located in the Dales, near Harrogate. “That’s a really beautiful, remote location. When you’re up there you can hear curlews singing. DCI Banks works in a city centre location so it’s lovely when we see him enjoying his cottage and his log-burner and staring out at the view.”

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