On the day Alice (Keeley Hawes) moves into a fancy new home with Harry (Jason Merrells) and their daughter Charlotte (Isabella Pappas), her life changes forever. Partly because of the new home, but mainly because Harry almost immediately falls down the stairs and dies. If only he had installed bannisters.
And so begins ITV’s new drama Finding Alice. Builder turned property developer Harry designed this house himself, delighting in installing all the latest smart technology to impress his family – but now he’s gone, and the house doesn’t feel very smart after all.
ITV tells us: “Harry designed the smart house, so it’s weird and wonderful, and one more disorientation for Alice on top of her sense of loss and abandonment.”
So where (and how) was the drama filmed? Here’s what you need to know.
Where was Finding Alice filmed?
The drama is set in the fictional Surrey town of “Manning”, and so – appropriately – it was mainly filmed in London and Surrey.
Specific filming locations included Rosebery Park (where the cast were spotted setting up for a shoot) and Farnham. We also know that the team made use of the old Richmond upon Thames College building.
Is the ‘smart house’ in Finding Alice actually a real house?
Yes! A private home in Farnham, Surrey was used to film the exterior of Alice and Harry’s ultra-modern new dream house.
Named “Aylesford House”, the real-life house was designed by the architect Kate Stoddart – and was spotted by location scouts when it went it went up for sale. (It has since been sold, with Zoopla estimating its value at over £1.5 million.)
The five-bedroom property is set in pine woodland overlooking a valley. The project was a major expansion of the existing 1960s bungalow on the site, described by Stoddart as an “upcycling project“.
While the house was already occupied by its new owners, they welcomed the cast and crew. Keeley Hawes said: “We loved shooting there… they were very generous and inviting and patient with us.”
Where were the house’s interiors filmed?
The house’s interiors were filmed on a huge set at West London Studios.
The set design was based partly on the actual interiors of the house in Farnham, Surrey – but with the story’s “smart house” elements built in, as well as the fateful bannister-less, health-and-safety-defying, floating concrete staircase.
Filming for Finding Alice began in January 2020, but was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic in March. Ahead of lockdown, the team raced to complete filming for all the interior scenes on the studio set.
Roger Goldby, the show’s Series Director, Co-writer and Executive Producer, says that filming was paused “with three of the six episodes finished and all of the studio section – the interiors of the house – all done.”
Filming then recommenced in September, wrapping in mid-October.
Why is the house so important?
Explaining the importance of Harry’s “smart house” to the story, Co-Writer and Executive Producer Simon Nye says: “Alice is fighting for Harry’s legacy which is embodied in this new house he’s built for her.
“She resists any attempt to take that away from her in the financial maelstrom that follows his death. It’s not that she wants to live in a nice house; she wants to protect Harry’s life’s work.”
And so, despite Alice’s empty bank account and the revelations about Harry’s financial trouble, she and her daughter Charlotte refuse to allow the house to be sold.
Keeley Hawes says: “It’s a driving force. It had to be at the heart of the show in order for Alice to go on this journey, because if it hadn’t been Harry’s passion project – we’d all be thinking, well, why doesn’t she just sell up and move out. It had to be a piece of him that she has to hold on to at all costs. So it is a huge part of the show.”
Finding Alice begins on Sunday 17th January at 9pm on ITV. Check out what else is on with our TV guide.