BAFTA award winning actor Martin Clunes will once again star as former London Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton in brand new crime series Manhunt The Night Stalker, premiering on ITV on Monday (20th September) following an extensive Bristol shoot supported by our Film Office team last year.
The old Bank of England building next to St Mary le Port Church on Bridge Street was transformed into a London police station for the gripping four-part drama, whilst numerous other Bristol locations were also used, including A Bond Warehouse on Bristol’s Floating Harbour, the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room in City Hall, and a host of residential streets in the Stoke Bishop, Westbury on Trym, Easton, St Paul’s, Henbury and Knowle areas.
Exterior filming took place at locations including Berkeley Square, Victoria Street, the railway arches on Stapleton Road, Wine Street near Castle Park, Knowle Cricket Club and Henleaze Junior School, whilst driving sequences were shot along St Phillips Causeway and Gloucester Road.
Although Manhunt The Night Stalker is set in suburban South London, we decided to move the majority of our shoot to Bristol, with a few days at the end for some key London shots. It proved to be an extremely good decision. We started filming in mid-October 2020, when Covid figures were rising again after the summer, and continued in Bristol right through until Christmas. Bristol went into Tier 3 during our shoot and we ended the Bristol shoot with all the government’s changes of plans over what was allowed for Christmas itself. Not an easy time to be working in close proximity to a large group of fellow professionals.Jo Willett, Producer
Bristol Film Office were extremely helpful and we were able to agree a key location, the old Bank of England building in the City Centre, very early. Here our design team created a composite police station set. This meant that for three weeks of our shoot we were away from members of the public, in our own large interior space. Before that we had to film in various locations around the city, often at night, but moving between locations was far easier than it would have been in London, and without exception we found location owners helpful and understanding.
For many of us on the show, this was our first job under Covid conditions. All television drama production had been halted in March 2020 and we were one of the first dramas to go into production, following the government’s lifting of restrictions and introducing its bespoke Covid insurance scheme. Our Covid protocol was extremely comprehensive. We worked closely with our Covid advisors. We were shooting prior to vaccinations being introduced, so our testing regime was vital, if incredibly expensive. We all became accustomed to working in masks and donning goggles when we were near any of the cast or supporting artists. It felt a very different experience from pre-Covid days, but we were all glad to be working and proud of what we produced.
The sequel to ITV’s critically acclaimed Manhunt, which followed the police pursuit of serial killer Levi Bellfield, Manhunt The Night Stalker is based on the diaries of Colin Sutton and documents the true story of the police investigation of a series of rapes, sexual assaults and burglaries which took place in South East London between 1992 and 2009.
A dedicated unit, Operation Minstead, was established to hunt down the notorious serial burglar and rapist, known as the Night Stalker, whose 17-year reign of terror left thousands of elderly people living in fear.
As the suspect continued to evade capture, DCI Colin Sutton was asked in 2009 to review the case. Working with Detective Superintendent Simon Morgan and the Minstead team, the tenacious detective proposed a strategy he believed could catch one of Britain’s most prolific rapists, focusing a vast surveillance operation around a key area of south east London.
Scores of additional officers were deployed to invisibly saturate the target area on a nightly basis. The clock was ticking, as the Night Stalker was becoming ever more brazen and prolific.
It was a pleasure to assist Buffalo Pictures with the filming of Manhunt The Night Stalker last year. Big dramas like this bring much needed jobs for Bristol’s strong crew base, which was in greater need than ever of new projects to work on when this shoot began in October, following the challenges of the preceding months caused by the pandemic. Filming also generates benefits for businesses in other parts of the local economy, for example hospitality, catering and transport. We were pleased to help the team find the best locations that suited their needs, to help them safely contain their cast and crew and carry out a Covid-safe shoot with protocols in place.Senior Bristol Film Officer, Natalie Moore
Which of Bristol’s residential streets feature in Manhunt The Night Stalker?
- Stoke Bishop: Roman Way, Branscombe Road, Kewstoke Road, Stoke Park Road, Reedley Road, Stoke Lane outside Zest Deli & Cafe
- St Pauls: Upper York Street, Portland Square, Lemon Lane, Wilson Street
- Easton: Gaunts Ham Park, Abraham Close
- Westbury on Trym: The Dell
- Henbury: Lorain Walk
- Knowle: Somerset Road near Arnos Court Park
Manhunt The Night Stalker is devised by Colin Sutton and Ed Whitmore. The drama is written by Ed Whitmore (Viewpoint, Silent Witness, Rillington Place, Strike Back) who also wrote the first series of Manhunt, which told the real-life story of how the murder of Amelie Delagrange on Twickenham Green in 2004 was eventually linked to the murder of Marsha McDonnell in 2003 and the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler in 2002. Both dramas are produced by Buffalo Pictures.
The executive producer is Philippa Braithwaite, the producer is Jo Willett, the co-producer is Evie Bergson-Korn, the director is Marc Evans. Ed Whitmore is also an executive producer.
The first series of Manhunt attracted an average audience of nine million viewers and was the highest rated new drama on any channel during 2019. The drama also won many plaudits for Martin Clunes’ portrayal of the dedicated detective.
Manhunt The Night Stalker begins on ITV on Monday 20th September at 9pm.