ITV’s latest true-crime drama, The Pembrokeshire Murders is airing throughout this week, with popular actor Luke Evans starring as real-life figure Steve Wilkins.
Wilkins was a police detective who played a key role in convicting ‘The Bullseye Killer’ John Cooper, so named due to his appearance on the iconic ITV darts game show, and his desperate hunt for evidence forms the basis of much of the miniseries.
There were many things it was important for the producers to get right when it came to depicting the events – not least making sure the harrowing subject matter was dealt with in an appropriate and sensitive manner – and one of the key aspects was picking out the right locations at which to film the series.
Read on for everything you need to know about where The Pembrokeshire Murders was filmed.
Where was The Pembrokeshire Murders filmed?
Much of the drama is actually shot very close to some of the real-life locations where the crimes were committed, and according to executive producer Simon Heath, this was essential when it came to ensuring the authenticity of the programme.
“It was absolutely vital,” he told RadioTimes.com and other press when asked about the importance of shooting in Wales. “I’m a great believer in general of drama having specificity of location and geography, and I worry sometimes that as budgets get bigger and bigger and shows are more and more generic that you get this kind of homogenous setting that doesn’t seem to be anywhere. But I’m a great believer in the specifics of place.”
He added: “And there’s a particular quality to Pembrokeshire, it’s both this beautiful place to go on holiday, and I did go from Birmingham in the ’80s, but also in the winter it’s kind of harsh, and there’s an industrial working class side which is where Cooper stemmed from, and where his victims stemmed from, and I think Marc [Evans, director] captures those two sides of Pembrokeshire rather brilliantly.”
Despite the fact that most of the exterior locations used were in Pembrokeshire, including several spots along the stunning coastline, some of the interior scenes were actually shot further afield in Cardiff, owing to a few logistical difficulties.
“Because of the window of opportunity we had to film with Luke, we had to shoot at the very start of 2020, when the weather and conditions were likely to be against us,” Heath explained.
“Knowing these limits, we shot all the key Pembrokeshire exteriors across a period of three weeks, knowing that we would then come back to Cardiff and its surroundings to do many of the interiors in the drama.”
But despite the fact that the interiors weren’t shot on location, Heath nonetheless believes that the Pembrokeshire setting shines through.
“You always feel you’re in that world throughout the piece even when for reasons of weather and filming difficulty we shot some of the interiors around the Cardiff area,” he said. “I think the big takeaway is the Pembrokeshire landscape.”
Evans was particularly excited about the chance to shoot in Wales – incredibly the first time the star has filmed in his homeland. And he reckons the contrast of the beautiful settings with the horror of the crimes is central to the programme.
“We saw the most dramatic skylines over the sea, the coastal path which is… we’re lucky enough to have one of the longest coastal paths in the world, it’s just a magnificent place to be at any time of the year,” he said. “And the juxtaposition of this terrible thing happening in such a beautiful place just adds to the mystery of the whole place.”
During filming for the project, Evans and the rest of the cast and crew had been spotted in assorted locations throughout Pembrokeshire, including the coastal towns Goodwick and Fishguard and the village Freshwater East.