This BBC Richard Branson Comedy Spoof Was Actually Filmed MILES From Necker Island


Summer may only be a few months away, but you'll be able to experience some tropical island vibes on BBC Two tonight thanks to the second airing of a one-off comedy. Originally aired as part of BBC's festive line-up, Island of Dreams follows a fictionalised version of Richard Branson as he helps a group of celebs relax in Necker Island, which is entirely owned by Branson and is part of the British Virgin Islands. So where was Island of Dreams filmed, and was the show actually filmed on Branson's private island?

Update: A statement sent to Bustle from Genial Productions reveals that all the hotel interiors were show on location in a private house in Reigate, Surrey. This included the reception area, the bar, the pool, and the bedrooms. The island exteriors, the segue, the camping scenes, and Richard Branson’s office were shot at West London Studios. There were also green screen shots for moments such as Harry Enfield waterskiing and the Virgin train carriage. The sea plane arriving and other beach shots were all footage.

Previously: Well, amazingly, Necker Island is actually available for hire via the Virgin Limited Edition. As the website states:

"If you’d like the whole place to yourselves then hiring Necker Island exclusively is the way to go. The island comfortably sleeps 30 guests in 15 rooms; made up of 11 in the Great House, including the Master Suite, as well as Leha Lo, Bali Lo, Bali Buah and Bali Kukila. For even bigger parties we can arrange for accommodation on nearby Moskito Island for up to 16 additional guests."

Imagine that holiday.

However, I've done some digging, and despite the fact that Necker Island can be rented out, it looks like the set for Island of Dreams wasn't anywhere hot or sandy. In fact, filming appears to have taken place here, in ol' Blighty. Going by an Instagram post from Leigh Gill (the actor who plays Baboo on the show), it seems West London Film Studios was the place where it all went down. On Nov. 23 2018, Gill posted a photo of a clapperboard with Island of Dreams written across it, with the geotag West London Film Studios and the caption:

That’s a wrap!!!... I had such a brilliant time on this with some absolute comedy legends! Coming to a TV near you soon... Keep a look out!

So there you have it. I reached out to representatives for BBC and the production company behind the show to get some more insight into filming locations, but I've yet to hear back from either. I'll keep you updated if anything comes up.

Island of Dreams sees Harry Enfield portray "the original Virgin Upper Class Loadsamoney" as he aptly described to the Mirror earlier this year. A group of celebrities such as Adele (played by Morgana Robinson), Greg Wallace (played by Al Murray), and J.K. Rowling (played by Samantha Spiro) visit Branson's isle for a getaway that includes relaxation and self-help. However, it seems that Branson has an ulterior motive which may involve "interplanetary travel" as BBC hints in the show's synopsis. I mean, Elon Musk (played by Jamie Demetriou) and Brian Cox (played by Dustin Demri-Burns) are also in attendance, after all.

The show was written by Bert Tyler Moore and George Jeffrie, as Radio Times reports, who also wrote Channel 4's The Windsors and Star Stories. It also seems as though the one-off was initially debuted as a comedy pilot according to Radio Times and had the potential to be a full series. While that didn't come to be, you definitely don't want to miss it tonight.