New TV drama set in Hastings: Hollywood star talks about her love for the town

Connie Nielsen has told how she fell in love with Hastings and its surrounding countryside while filming her new TV drama.

The Hollywood star plays a woman who loses a year’s worth of memories in Channel 4’s domestic thriller Close To Me, based on the novel of the same name.

The show was predominantly set in Hastings and St Leonards, and Nielsen told “It was lovely, the cliffs were beautiful. I was amazed by the countryside and the physical beauty of the nature; it was just amazing.”

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Her co-star Christopher Eccleston joked that he took his “bucket and spade” for days out filming in the town.

Connie Nielsen on St Leonards seafront: Picture: Ross Settles SUS-210411-121555001

Some of the seafront scenes in St Leonards were filmed in September last year, with large numbers of film trucks parked up in the car park near Azur. One scene shows Nielsen buying seafood from a fishmonger stall set up on Grand Parade, another shows her walking into an estate agent across the road.

“We were filming flashbacks from high summer, in autumn, but we had these freak weather days which helped us,” Eccleston said. “We’d all been locked away since March, so we had cabin fever and were just delighted to be working, earning, being creative.”

Nielsen added: “The Covid protocols were absolutely exhausting, but the fact that we really adhered to them is the reason why we never had a positive case on our 80-member crew. The worst part for me was that as I was travelling back and forth between London and Copenhagen with my children in school, then the borders closed because Denmark had the mink variant, so that was very hard. But the crew were so resilient and worked so hard.”

Nielsen, who starred in Wonder Woman 1984, plays Jo Harding, a Danish translator and mother-of-two who suffers a brain trauma. As she struggles to remember everything that happened to her, she must contend with the fact that those around her are keeping secrets. Former Doctor Who star Eccleston plays Jo’s husband Rob in the dark, coming of age story.

The seafront in Hastings

The drama will be box-setted after episode one airs.