New ITV drama filmed in Essex

"The ITV Studios production took over Shire Hall in Chelmsford earlier this summer"

The Essex Film Office is delighted that the historic Chelmsford landmark, Shire Hall, is starring in the upcoming four-part ITV drama ‘Mr Bates Vs the Post Office’.

Filming took place earlier this year for the new series, written by acclaimed screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes (‘Tom Jones’, ‘Honour’, ‘Vanity Fair’) and produced by ITV Studios and Little Gem. Directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Crime, Vigil) and produced by Chris Clough (‘World On Fire’, ‘The Missing’), ‘Mr. Bates Vs The Post Office’ features a stellar cast including Toby Jones, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Will Mellor, and Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol.

The ITV Studios production took over Shire Hall for 12 days earlier this summer, bringing in art departments, set dressers, caterers, sound crews and even setting up a lighting rig behind the building to get the set ready for TV stars including Toby Jones and Catherine Kelly to shoot the pivotal trial scenes for the upcoming drama. Both courtrooms one and two were used as courtrooms in the upcoming drama – courtroom three (first floor) of Shire Hall was dressed as a Westminster Committee Room. The drama tells the story of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters and postmistresses were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting due to a defective IT system. Many of the wronged workers were prosecuted, some of whom were imprisoned for crimes they never committed, and their lives were irreparably ruined by the scandal. Following the landmark Court of Appeal decision to overturn their criminal convictions, dozens of former sub postmasters and postmistresses have been exonerated on all counts as they battled to finally clear their names. They fought for over ten years finally proving their innocence and sealing a resounding victory, but all involved believe the fight is not over yet, not by a long way.

Erica Gilson, Essex Film Office said: “We were delighted to help when the location crew for ITV got in touch enquiring about filming at Shire Hall in Chelmsford. The Courtrooms and ancillary rooms are just as they were when it was as an operational courthouse making them the perfect setting for filming and we worked closely with the Chelmsford City Council, Chelmsford Cathedral and Essex Highways to make this project happen. We worked closely with the production crew to ensure that residents and nearby businesses weren’t disturbed by the filming activity. This is a great example of how Essex is a prime location for filming, we have some fantastic buildings and spaces which can provide the perfect backdrop to a wide range of productions.”

The drama will be shown over four nights starting on ITV on Monday 1 January 2024 at 9.00pm.

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ITV Studios
MR BATES Vs POST OFFICE
Ep 3
Pictured: KATHERINE KELLY as Angela, LIA WILLIAMS as Paula and IAN HART as Bob Ruthjeford. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc.
ITV Studios
MR BATES Vs POST OFFICE
Ep 3
Pictured: TOBY JONES as Alan Bates. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc.
 
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