Disney+ drama filmed Bristol as London & Jamaica

Disney+ drama filmed Bristol as London & Jamaica
Black Cake, via Disney+

Disney+ drama Black Cake filmed in Bristol, doubling the city for both London and Jamaica.

The eight-episode series is an adaptation of Charmaine Wilkerson’s best-selling novel of the same name, and spans several decades and locations including Jamaica, Italy, Scotland, England and Southern California.

It stars Mia Isaac, Adrienne Warren, Chipo Chung, Ashley Thomas, Lashay Anderson, Faith Alabi and Glynn Turman.

Although the production was based in Wales where much of the location filming took place, Bristol was used for two key story settings.

With the assistance of Bristol Film Office, the city’s Princes Wharf was closed for five days in September 2022, as it doubled for Jamaica’s Port Royal Harbour in the 1970s.

POrt RoyalPrinces Wharf credit @bristol_filming

A night’s filming took place on the Harbourside outside MShed, with Bristol’s famous vintage ship MV Balmoral playing the part of a Windrush vessel departing Jamaica to ferry passengers to England. Lighting equipment was lifted onto the MShed roof with the help of the cranes team, to illuminate the set.

Ben Mangham, Black Cake’s supervising location manager, said: “Bristol Film Office and the Balmoral team led by Rob Skuse immediately understood the brief and were invaluable in bringing Port Royal Harbour to Princes Wharf Bristol. Although the fabulous MV Balmoral is not quite an Atlantic crossing Windrush vessel of the time, it is a beautiful period-correct ship with a hugely experienced (mostly volunteer) team less than one hour from our studio.

POrt RoyalPrinces Wharf, credit Bristol Film Office

“The Dock with its impressive cargo cranes of yesteryear (operational still) and the sleek lines of MV Balmoral combined wonderfully with the design team’s Jamaican dock set dressing – for a brief moment, a small part of Bristol docks was transformed into a busy embarkation point for islanders starting their journey to Britain…”

Black CakeFrog Lane, credit Disney+

Black Cake returned to Bristol to film further scenes in October 2022, when Frog Lane near Park Street was transformed into a busy 1970’s London market complete with stalls selling Christmas trees and mistletoe, a vintage red Routemaster bus destined for ‘Tower Hill’ and large numbers of supporting artists.

Black CakePark Street Bristol, credit Bristol Film Office

Bristol filming also took place at the University of Bristol’s Clifton Hill House, the former Lloyds Bank building and Clifton’s Wellington Terrace. Further afield in the West of England, filming also took place in Bridgwater, Somerset.

Laura Aviles, head of film, Bristol City Council, commented: “Bristol’s preserved quayside is consistently popular with film and TV productions seeking period dockside settings, with its unique combination of working cranes, steam railway, transit shed and, of course, the superb 1940’s MV Balmoral. From enquiry through to shoot, Bristol Film Office liaises closely with the MShed, Cranes and Balmoral teams, making sure everything is in place for filming to run smoothly…”

Marissa Jo Cerar served as showrunner and executive producer on Black Cake. The series is executive produced by Aaron Kaplan, Carla Gardini, Brian Morewitz, Charmaine Wilkerson, and Michael Lohmann. Black Cake is a Two Drifters, Harpo Films, and Kapital Entertainment production; the series is also produced by ABC Signature.

Top image via Disney+

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