Through information posted on the Series 1 Filming Locations page and some additional sleuthing work, Lucy (aka AgentP) managed to locate the farm which is used as Gillian’s farm on the show. Earlier this summer, after holidaying in Scotland, Lucy made a detour to Yorkshire* (see comments below – the location is actually in Lancashire) to visit “Gillian’s farm”. She met with the owner, Bill, who very graciously gave Lucy a tour of the farm and introduced her to some of the farm animals.
Farmer Bill told Lucy that he was born at a farm just down the hill from his current residence. His son and brother now live in nearby farms. The farm itself is in a very remote part of Yorkshire, and it can get very cold in the winter time. When they filmed the first Series there last winter, the actresses had to have hot water bottles under their coats to keep out the chill. Bill said that they filmed the show in 3 day stints, and for Series 1, they spent a total of 12 days filming at the farm. When filming is in progress, the production company would close off access to the farm.
It was Bill who taught Nicola to drive the tractor and she rehearsed for ages in the field next to the house to prepare for her scenes with the tractor. He also taught Nicola how to repair stonewalls and handle sheep! Unfortunately, by the time they started to film Series 2, Nicola had forgotten how to drive the tractor – see this fan report for more details.
The farm was originally a sheep farm, just like Gillian’s farm. For Series 2, the farm cast is joined by 3 boy lambs and 3 girl lambs. The chickens from Series 1 were brought in by the production company. After filming of Series 1 was completed, they were left at the farm. Bill helped ‘organize’ the chickens to appear in shots at the right time. The chicken coop (where Gillian appears when she hears news that her Dad and Celia are safe in episode 1.4) was also brought in by the production team. When Lucy was at the farm, the chickens were wandering around the yard, just like they do on the show.
Bill helped to fix both LandRovers used in Series 1, the one that was torched as well as the new one given to Gillian. The remains of the torched LandRover is still at the farm.
The production team replaced nearly all the windows and doors at the farm for the exterior shots. We know from tweets posted by the location manager, Andy Morgan, that the interiors of Gillian’s farm were filmed on a soundstage. The production team also provided the circular flower bed by the house.
Big thanks to Lucy for sharing all this information and the photos she took at the farm!
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