Grace: how the TV producers found those all-important Sussex locations

The great authenticity of Brighton-based TV detective series Grace as it lights up our Sunday night viewing is that the series is Brighton through and through.


As producer Kiaran Murray-Smith says: “We are in Brighton and when we are in Brighton, we are 100 per cent Brighton.”

Plus a number of other locations in the immediate area besides.

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Kiaran lives in Saltdean; it’s all an area he knows well; and everyone involved has been determined to create a proper Brighton/Sussex feel to the series.

Grace brings to the small screen Russell Lewis’s TV adaptation of Peter James’ hugely successful series of Brighton-based novels featuring detective Roy grace who is played on TV by John Simm.

Alongside him are Richie Campbell as DS Glenn Branson and Craig Parkinson as DS Norman Potting.

Kiaran is delighted at the response that the ITV series has been getting: “I am very much a local lad and trying to make sure that Brighton comes across is very important, using little nooks and crannies and the views out of the windows. We’ve got a location manager that lives in Worthing and we just try to make everything as local as we possibly can. We know certain places and we look back at the books and talk to the writer.”

In the first in the series, the Van Alen Building was an important location: “That was the start of trying to make it as Brighton as possible.”

It also helps that Peter James is very, very specific in the books: “If somewhere he mentions Dyke Road, we will try to use it; if there is a view over the sea, we will try to get a view over the sea with some Regency buildings. But also Shoreham Harbour have been hugely helpful.

“Once we get the right location if we need to change something then Russell Lewis who wrote all the current episodes will speak to Peter and chat it all through.”

For Not Dead Enough, they used a golf clubhouse on the Roedean road, and at first they used the real police station in Brighton.

A scene where Grace and Branson are chatting on the stairs is the actual police station stairwell. Real police cars have also been seen.

Also used in the series are The Lanes and in the episode which introduces Grace’s love interest Cleo, the North Gardens come into play. Burgess Hill is used for the interior mortuary scenes and also for the police station. Embassy Court also features.

“We went to Worthing and we used the Bayside Living flats

“There’s also a big end sequence in Dead Man’s Footsteps where we filmed at Beachy Head.

“We also have gone to Church Street in Brighton and we also shot at Proud Cabaret in Brighton for a drag queen.”

And no, surprisingly, the public don’t flock to watch them all in action as they make the series.

“We have been doing this for two years now.

“When we first started shooting during Covid people were quite interested. People would come and look at what we were doing.

“But it’s like anything really now, that British thing of just letting people get on with what they’re doing and you can watch John Simm and Richie walk down the street and no one really takes much notice.”

The next season will depend on the success of this one, but viewing figures are highly encouraging.

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