Where is Silent Witness Southbay filmed? Is it a real place, Isle of Sheppey filming locations explained

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The final two episodes of Silent Witness season 26, titled Southbay, frustrated some fans because of a location name change

The Silent Witness two-part finale, Southbay, which aired on 30 and 31 January, saw the forensics team head to the island of the episode’s title. Their investigation involved a family of serving police officers on the island who were suspected of corruption.

The two-parter starred Emilia Fox, David Caves, and Alastair Michael as the team investigated the murder of Carol Laing, the estranged wife of a serving police officer.

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The high-octane finale went down well with many fans of the long-running BBC crime drama, but some were confused about where it was supposed to be set - with one person threatening to write in to the BBC to complain.

Where is the Silent Witness finale Southbay filmed?

Given the focus on the location of the finale, and the fact that the episodes were even named after their setting, viewers were keen to know if Southbay is a real place, where the finale was filmed, and if you can visit.

The Silent Witness season 26 finale was filmed at the Isle of SheppeyThe Silent Witness season 26 finale was filmed at the Isle of Sheppey
The Silent Witness season 26 finale was filmed at the Isle of Sheppey | BBC Studios

Southbay Island is not actually a real place and was invented for the show - filming for the episodes took place on the Isle of Sheppey near Kent. The name of the Isle of Sheppey comes from the old English for sheep island.

The island, which has a population of around 40,000, is separated from the mainland by the Swale tidal channel. Two bridges connect Sheppey to Kent - Kingsferry bridge and Sheppey Crossing.

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The Kinsferry bridge features in the Silent Witness finale, though it is referred to as Southbay bridge in the show. Other Sheppey locations which feature in the series include the Leas beach in Minster on Sea on the north of the island - this is where the Laing family home is located.

Sheerness seafront, which is also on the north of the island near to the Leas, serves as another setting in the final.

Other film and TV projects which have been filmed on the Isle of Sheppey include comedy crime series The End of the F***ing World, Our House, Channel 4 crime drama Deceit, and drama films Great Expectations and The Danish Girl.

Alastarin Michael, David Caves, Emilia Fox, and Aki Omoshaybi in Silent Witness Alastarin Michael, David Caves, Emilia Fox, and Aki Omoshaybi in Silent Witness
Alastarin Michael, David Caves, Emilia Fox, and Aki Omoshaybi in Silent Witness | BBC Studios

What have viewers said about the Silent Witness finale?

The Isle of Sheppey has a population of around 40,000 and some of the locals who watched the Silent Witness season 26 finale were upset that the name of Sheppey had been changed to Southbay in the show.

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Phil Crowder, chair of the Sheerness Town Team, said: “I’m going to write a strongly-worded letter of complaint to the producers. Earlier in the series [episodes 3 and 4] they went to Dartford and had no trouble saying where they were. But for some reason they changed the name of Sheppey to a place called Southbay.

“I know it is a fictional story but if Dartford can get a name check in the same series then I don’t understand why Sheppey can’t. It’s really frustrating. We need all the help we can get these days to attract tourists. There were some lovely shots of the Kingsferry Bridge and the beaches at Minster and Shellness but no one will know where they are.”

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