David Tennant (Des, Good Omens) plays unlikely globetrotter Phileas Fogg in the brand new BBC adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days, based on the book of the same name.


The show begins with Mr Fogg taking on a £20,000 wager to circumvent the globe in 80 days or less, before embarking on his journey alongside his manservant Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma) and accompanied by journalist Abigail Fix (The Crown's Leonie Benesch), who plans to document their travels.

The series kicks off in London, and in the first three episodes alone, the journey takes our characters from the streets of Paris, to a desert sandstorm in Yemen.

Read our guide to the filming locations used for BBC One's globetrotting series Around the World in 80 Days.

Where was Around the World in 80 Days filmed?

BBC One drama Around the World in 80 Days was filmed primarily in two locations – South Africa and Romania – with the two countries standing in for a host of different places throughout the globetrotting eight-part series.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Leonie Benesch (who plays Abigail Fix) said: "I've never been to South Africa. And also, I've never been to Romania. So both were new to me. I loved them both."

On filming a desert scene for episode three, she added: "It was beautiful [but] disgusting to film there because it's so hot. But that was the case with a lot of the locations, you'd get there, like, 'This is amazing! I want to go home!' And, 'I need to be next to an air conditioner', or 'I need to be in the water, because this is just too hot'."

Where was the London Reform Club filmed?

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 04/12/2021 - Programme Name: Around the World in 80 Days - TX: n/a - Episode: Around the World in 80 Days - ep 1 (No. 1) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:00:01 4th DECEMBER 2021** Bernard Fortescue (JASON WATKINS) - (C) Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-FILMS / RTBF (Télévision belge) - Photographer: Anika Molnár

The Reform Club, the gentlemen's club in London where Phileas Fogg is a member, was filmed at the historic Cape Town Town Hall in South Africa.

Katy Fyfe, location manager for the series in South Africa, explained: "The building where we shot the Reform Club is the town’s city hall. The city of Cape Town was very kind to let us shoot there and were really good in opening doors for us to use it for the length of time needed to finish the filming. It’s almost unheard of to have the city hall location for so long.

"Nelson Mandela gave his freedom speech from there. There’s actually a monument to him as you come up the main stairs of the building where he stood just after he was released from prison. The building holds a lot of special memories and moments in South African history."

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The Reform Club plays a key, recurring role in the series, as it's where we revisit the characters of Nyle Bellamy and Bernard Fortescue, the latter being the editor of The Daily Telegraph, and Abigail's doting father.

However, other scenes set in London – including Fogg's house, and various London streets – were filmed in Romania.

Where were the Paris scenes in episode 1 filmed?

Around the World in 80 Days
BBC / Slim 80 Days

Sebastian Krawinkel, production designer on the series, revealed that the scenes set on the streets of Paris, France, were actually filmed in Romania, and in particular its capital city Bucharest.

He explained: "Romania offered us an amazing art department with highly skilled, incredible artists. We also found terrific locations in Bucharest and the surrounding area with tremendous old buildings that worked for the Parisian part of the journey. The architecture in Bucharest is very French by influence so that was fortunate. "

Where were the Italy train scenes in episode 2 filmed?

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS - EP02 - Ibrahim Koma (PASSEPARTOUT), David Tennant (PHILEAS FOGG) and Leonie Benesch (ABIGAIL ÒFIXÓ FORTESCUE) Photographer: Tudor Cucu - © Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-FILMS / RTBF (TŽlŽvision belge)Ð 2021

The Italian ravine that Phileas Fogg and his companions attempt to cross by train in episode two was filmed in Romania, close to the historical region of Transylvania.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Benesch said: "In Romania, we went to – episode two, [with] all the stuff on the train as they're going over the ravine – we were in the mountain close to Transylvania, which is actually where my grandfather's from because I went there on the weekend. But yeah, that was really surreal. [It wasn't] a place you would never go to usually."

Where was the Yemen port city of Al Hudaydah filmed?

Programme Name: Around the World in 80 Days - TX: n/a - Episode: Around the World in 80 Days - ep 3 (No. 3) - Picture Shows: Phileas Fogg (DAVID TENNANT), Passepartout (IBRAHIM KOMA) - (C) Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-FILMS / RTBF (Télévision belge) - Photographer: Joe Alblas

In Around the World in 80 Days episode three, Phileas Fogg finds himself stuck on Yemen’s west coast, at the port city Al Hudaydah – and opts for a dangerous desert crossing.

Al Hudaydah (a real city, and principal port on the Red Sea) was actually filmed at Cape Town Film Studios in South Africa, with production adapting old sets that were dormant on the backlot, or else converting previous sets from other shows.

Krawinkel said that he and his team began by "researching what a place like Al Hudaydah would look like in 1872", when the series is set.

He continued: "This is a real city in Yemen with its principal port on the Red Sea. We started with images and ideas and found this beautiful town square that we could work with located at the Cape Town Film Studios in South Africa that had been used for another show. We drew some sketches of how this could be turned into an Arabic city square, which was our jumping off point. I shared my first sketches and ideas with director Steve Barron and the producers and had a great response and then we started building."

Where were the desert sandstorms in episode three filmed?

Around the World in 80 Days

The sandstorm scenes in episode three were filmed among the Atlantis sand dunes, situated up the west coast of South Africa.

Other locations in South Africa were also used for different portions of the desert journey. Location manager Katy Fyfe explained: "To get a little bit more on the journey through the desert, we also filmed at Theewaterskloof [in the Western Cape province of South Africa], which gives us another section of desert. The location looks really great on film.

"Then we headed up to the mountains just on the other side of Grabouw where we shot the end of the Arabian Desert journey. Basically, through the magic of film, we stitch together these locations to create one long continuous journey."

Where was the desert oasis in episode three filmed?

Programme Name: Around the World in 80 Days - TX: n/a - Episode: Around the World in 80 Days - behind the scenes (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Behind the scenes Phileas Fogg (DAVID TENNANT) - (C) Slim 80 Days / Federation Entertainment / Peu Communications / ZDF / Be-FILMS / RTBF (Télévision belge) - Photographer: Joe Alblas
Behind the scenes filming Around the World in 80 Days (BBC Pictures)

Likewise, the desert oasis was filmed at another, separate location in South Africa, as it would have proved impossible to dig an 'oasis' at the Atlantis sand dunes.

"We scouted an old brick field which had two pits where they used to dig the clay out for the bricks. One had water in it and one didn’t. We couldn’t use the one with water so we went with the dry pit.

"We had to bring in a lot of water to fill up that quarry and because of the water restrictions in Cape Town we used non-potable water. We created a wonderful oasis there with the help of greenery and the art department. I think it looked amazing," Fyfe said.

Where were the scenes in India filmed?

Around the World in 80 Days

At the start of episode four (and on Day 28 of their journey around the world), Phileas, Passepartout and Abigail arrive in a small hillside village in India – and get held up at a wedding.

The scenes set in India were filmed in South Africa, using a repurposed set in the Oaklands area, according to location manager Katy Fyfe.

"I loved our set in Oaklands where we’ve got the Indian village," she said. "The transformation alone was incredible to watch; from taking it from what was a biblical set to this beautiful Indian village. A lot of work went into that set; much more than most people realise or understand."

Sebastian Krawinkel, production designer on the series, separately explained how production managed to create an Indian village in South Africa.

"We’ve got another old set which we’ve also repurposed to turn into a hillside village in India, which I was very proud of. It gives us a completely different look and landscape for the series. South Africa is so diverse in that way. On that side of the country, we’re in wheat fields, so we also found our British army camp close by which was very helpful with a unit of this size to move around," he said.

Read more: Around the World in 80 Days review: Serviceable Christmas fare, but nothing more


Around the World in 80 Days will be released on Boxing Day in the UK on BBC One and in the US on Sunday 2nd January via PBS. Want to watch something sooner? Check out our full TV Guide or our Drama hub for more news and features.