ITV’s new drama White House Farm revolves around the Essex farmhouse killings of August 1985, which saw five members of the Bamber family murdered one night in their home. The series follows the subsequent media frenzy and police investigation into the murders.
The six-part drama is set in Tolleshunt D’Arcy, the Essex village where the real-life murders took place, but none of the filming for the series actually took place there.
Here’s what we know about the filming locations in White House Farm…
Where was White House Farm filmed?
The house used as a filming location was selected because of its similarities to the real White House Farm.
“The house we used to depict the house at White House Farm was key,” director Paul Whittington said. “Firstly for its setting in rural Essex, its isolation and beauty. Also crucially what ultimately tipped the balance for us in terms of that particular location was the interior layout of that house which was very similar to the original house itself.”
While some of the series was filmed in Essex, none of the scenes were shot in the village of Tolleshunt D’Arcy – where the murders took place.
Executive producer Willow Grylls said: “It was also important to us that we didn’t film in the close vicinity of where these brutal events actually happened. So we weren’t anywhere near the original White House Farm.”
Instead, the production crew on the series chose other locations to replicate the area where the murders took place.
According to EssexLive, in October 2018 a production crew was spotted at a pub in the village of Roxwell, outside Chelmsford. Members of the crew said they were filming for a top-secret ITV project.
Locals saw actors dressed in 1980’s clothing at the Chequers Inn Pub, and spotted Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen (playing Brett Collins) on set.
Where was the trial filmed?
The murder trial in the series was actually filmed at Chelmsford Crown Court – the same location where the real trial of Jeremy Bamber actually took place.
But director Paul Whittington said: “Aside from filming Jeremy Bamber’s trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, where it took place in 1986, we avoided filming at any of the real locations out of respect. “Wherever we film – whether a real location or not – we are always acutely aware and sensitive to the fact we are portraying real life with real victims. Along with the responsibility that comes with that.”
He added: “We filmed in the next door courtroom to the one actually used for Jeremy Bamber’s trial. That was just a logistical issue. The courtroom we used hadn’t really changed in over 30 years.”
Did filming take place in any of the Bamber properties?
None of the scenes in the series were shot where the murders took place, however locals spotted camera crews and cast members filming outside Bourtree Cottage in Goldhanger in 2018.
Bourtree Cottage is where Jeremy Bamber lived at the time of the murders.
What happened at White House Farm?
On the night of August 6th 1985, five members of the Bamber family were killed at White House Farm – Nevill and June Bamber, their adoptive daughter Sheila Caffell and her two young sons.
Police initially believed that Sheila had killed her family in a murder-suicide, as she had previously suffered from schizophrenia. However, her surviving adoptive brother Jeremy Bamber was arrested weeks later after his girlfriend spoke to the police. Bamber was convicted of the murders in October 1986 and sentenced to life in prison.