ITV's 'A Confession' Didn't Film In Some Areas Of Swindon For This Important Reason

by Aoife Hanna

Just in time for things for the weather turning chilly, it looks like ITV is about to provide the answer to your Autumn TV needs with their brand spanking new crime drama. Not only is A Confession bringing high-end drama based on a true story but a stellar cast to match. To say this story of an ethical dilemma will grip you is an understatement. The scenery in the TV show is utterly stunning and vast, which helps illustrate the challenges faced by those searching for a missing person in the area at the time. But where was A Confession filmed? Because ITV chose the perfect location for this true-to-life detective drama.

So the story itself is based on the true story of two women, Sian O'Callaghan and Becky Godden, who were murdered by Christopher Halliwell in Swindon. According to the Royal Television Society, the show was shot in Wiltshire and the Home Counties. However, the writer of the show Jeff Pope shared that, when making the show, they chose not to film in any of the specific locations where the crimes took place out of respect for the victims and their families. Pope spoke to the Radio Times and explained the reasoning behind this very clear decision:

"We didn't film on Swindon’s High Street or at Suju's which is where Sian was taken from. We didn’t go to the field where Becky was found or the ditch where Sian was."

Pope acknowledged the need to be sensitive towards the family and friends of the two victims:

"We felt there would be friends and family of Sian walking down the High Street and there we are, recreating the moment when she gets into Halliwell's car. The decision not to film there was at least partly because of sensitivity."

The show centres around the real-life case that unfolded after O'Callaghan went missing in 2011, and focuses on the actions of Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Martin Freeman, who chose to break protocol in order to catch the killer, as the Radio Times reports.

As Fulcher told the Guardian back in 2016, he made the difficult decision to interview Halliwell alone, on a remote hillside, rather than in a police station with lawyers and other officers present because he believed O'Callaghan may still have been alive. During that interaction, O'Callaghan reportedly confessed not only to O'Callaghan's murder, but to the murder of Godden, too.

"I did all I could to find an abducted girl ... in an effort to save her life; the first duty of a police officer," Fulcher said in a statement to the Guardian. "I also recovered a second victim of Halliwell’s murder: Becky, returning her to her loved ones after eight years of their misery. I caught a serial killer, preventing any further girls being murdered."

Later in the statement, he said: "I remain convinced that the action that I took in allowing Halliwell to take me to the bodies of both Sian and Becky, was the right and moral thing to do. In so doing, I felt that I correctly prioritised the human rights of the victims and their families, balanced against the rights of the perpetrator."

It was a move that threw up a million ethical questions, which is what ITV plans to explore with its new series.

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Speaking to the Guardian about his role as the detective on the show, Freeman explained it was impossible not to wonder what you would do if you were in Fulcher's situation:

"Before you even realise it you are thinking, how would I have acted? I was hit by what a very high price Steve paid, and is still paying, for doing something, although not legal by every letter of the law, that you would be hard pushed to find anyone to say was terribly wrong."

Watch A Confession on Monday Sept 2 on ITV1