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Where is BBC Agatha Christie drama Ordeal by Innocence filmed?

A private home in Scotland was transformed into the Argyll family's mansion

Ordeal by Innocence house
Published: Friday, 18th January 2019 at 10:44 am

Agatha Christie's aristocratic Argylls may be an unhappy family, but at least they get to live in an extraordinary house.


BBC1's Ordeal by Innocence was filmed at Ardgowan Estate on the Scottish coast near Glasgow, which becomes the Sunny Point mansion from the novel. The exterior is draped in purple wisteria and surrounded by gorgeous gardens, and the interior is dominated by a sweeping staircase. It seems the perfect setting for the dark murder mystery about to unfold.

What do we know about the house in Ordeal by Innocence?

Ordeal by Innocence - location

The mansion we see on-screen belongs to Sir Ludovic Houston Shaw Stewart 12th Baronet, who invited the stars and the 140-strong production team into his home.

Ardgowan is a 10,000 acre estate which has been owned by the same family since John Stewart was granted the land in 1406. The house you see on screen was built in the 18th century when the family came into some money. In its history there have been castles and battles and witch hunts, and in the World Wars it became a temporary hospital.

Westwick's replacement, Christian Cooke can be seen alongside Morven Christie (as Kirsten Lindstrom), Crystal Clarke (Tina Argyll), Ella Purnell (Hester Argyll) and Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson (Mary Durrant)

Sir Ludovic returned to the property in 2014 and opened up Ardgowan Estate for weddings, conferences and private events. In the summer of 2017, TV crews moved in.

The Grade A listed house was the ideal location for new BBC drama Ordeal by Innocence, with vast grounds and coastal access and plenty of room for filming in different parts of the property. Bill Nighy and his co-stars were given the run of the house.

Where were the reshoots filmed?

Ordeal by Innocence - Christian Cooke joined the cast for reshoots
Christian Cooke joined the cast for reshoots (BBC)

Filming for Ordeal by Innocence was completed in the summer of 2017 after six weeks on location, with the murder mystery set to air over Christmas. But in November, actor Ed Westwick was accused by two women of sexual assault (allegations which he denies) and the BBC decided to pull the three-part drama from its schedules.

As a solution, production company Mammoth replaced Westwick with Christian Cooke in the role of Mickey Argyll. This meant reshooting every single scene in which he had appeared – a daunting task.

Bill Nighy with director Sandra Goldbacher
Bill Nighy with director Sandra Goldbacher (BBC)

Fortunately, the team was able to reuse the original location and return to Ardgowan Estate.

Director Sandra Goldbacher told Radio Times: "Luckily the owner of the house kept quite a lot of the things our designer had done. We'd painted the whole house and put in new carpet, which thankfully they'd liked. Otherwise it would have taken ages to repaint it all again."

The house was dressed to look like the 1950s once more, and props were flown back in from Paris and Rome. Reshoots took place in January and February, with 35 scenes re-filmed in just 12 days.

Where is Ordeal by Innocence set?

Though filmed in Scotland, the drama is set in England – but looking at Christie's novel, you can see why a Scottish filming location is no problem.

On our protagonist Arthur Calgary, she writes: "How wild the scenery was here, he thought. One could fancy oneself on a Scottish loch, far from anywhere. And yet, only a few miles away, were the hotels, the shops, the cocktail bars and the crowds of Redquay.

"He reflected, not for the first time, on the extraordinary contrasts of the English landscape."


This article was originally published in March 2018


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