Where is The Trick filmed and who is the cast of the BBC drama?

Jason Watkins in BBC drama The Trick
(Image credit: BBC/Vox Pictures)

The Trick is a sobering lesson into the world of climate change and fake news.

Sound the TV alert klaxon - the BBC are back with another gripping drama offering this autumn. And we're sure that its all-star cast and topical subject is sure to both draw in and affect audiences long after it's finished.

Unlike BBC drama series Ridley Road and Guilt series 2, The Trick is a one-off feature length programme. The conspiracy thriller explores the personal and public falling out of the 2009 'Climategate' scandal involving Professor Phil Jones and his team of climatologists at the University of East Anglia. And viewers can settle down to watch The Trick on BBC iPlayer right now.

Where is The Trick filmed?

The Trick was filmed in Cardiff, London and Norfolk. 

Norfolk Screen have shared that camera crews for the BBC Drama were spotted in Norwich and Happisburgh beach. Whilst the BBC confirmed that filming took place over summer 2021.


As for the pandemic getting in the way of production, it seems crew behind the show were already well-versed in how to handle obstacles.

"This was actually the third production we have made since the pandemic struck last year, so we understood the challenges and protocols that had to be followed," producer Adrian Bate told the BBC.

Where is the lighthouse in The Trick?

Happisburgh Lighthouse is the lighthouse that appears in The Trick.

The lighthouse is the oldest working light in East Anglia, and the only independently run lighthouse in the UK.

The striking red and white painted landmark provided the backdrop to scenes in the BBC drama, alongside Happisburgh beach.


The Happisburgh Lighthouse Trust and charity Friends of Happisburgh Lighthouse - who maintain and operate the lighthouse today - were pleased to welcome the cast of The Trick to the site for filming.

"Did you see the BBC Drama The Trick yesterday evening?" read a post on Facebook. "If so, you'll have spotted Happisburgh Lighthouse, as well as scenes from Happisburgh beach. You'll need to watch to the end. We were pleased to welcome actors Jason Watkins and Elizabeth Bennett to the lighthouse as part of the filming."

Cast of The Trick:

Audiences will recognise a host of acting British talent in the cast of The Trick. The show includes:

  • Jason Watkins (W1A, Line of Duty, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries) as Phil Jones
  • Victoria Hamilton (The Crown, Doctor Foster) as Ruth Jones
  • George MacKay (1917, Pride) as Sam Bowen
  • Sam Cox (A Woman of No Importance) as Barrymore Bowen
  • Jerome Flynn (Game of Thrones, Ripper Street) as Neil Wallis
  • Aneirin Hughes (Keeping Faith, Hinterland) as Trevor Davies
  • Adrian Edmondson (Save Me, The Pact) as Edward Acton
  • Pooky Quesnel (The A Word, The Victim) as Stella Acton

Actor Jason Watkins - who is married to wife Clara Francis - was full of praise for the role he took on in the BBC show. He said, "It is a privilege to play the brilliant scientist, Phil Jones, whose own private world was so threatened from outside and whose research and efforts have been so vital globally in combating the effects of climate change."

"It is rare that a drama marries the personal and the public in such a compelling way - the urgent need to tackle the effects of the earth's warming is not going away and the research into this project has been sobering."

Cast of The Trick - Jason Watkins and Victoria Hamilton

Jason Watkins and Victoria Hamilton star as Phil and Ruth Jones in BBC drama The Trick. (Credit: BBC - Photographer: Laurence Cendrowicz)

Is The Trick based on a true story?

Yes, The Trick is a true story based on events surrounding Professor Philip Jones in 2009.

The Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia, found himself the subject of a media storm after his research and personal emails around climate change were hacked by climate change deniers. The information was spun into a huge fake news story, claiming that climate change was a conspiracy that was being exaggerated by academic scientists.

In an interview with the Observer, scientist Phil Jones shared how the incident led to him receiving hate mail. "At the time, the mail was awful. Everyone was attacking me and I couldn’t deal with it," he said. "I got Christmas cards filled with obscenities and, to this day – on the November anniversary of the hacking – I still get a couple of offensive messages."

He added, "After The Trick is screened I expect there will be a new wave of abuse. However, I accept the risk because this is a story that needs to be told."

Whilst the drama focuses on the 'Climategate' scandal as it's known, it also delves into the consequences the event had on Professor Phil's personal life.

A BBC synopsis reads, "The film also charts the unjustified persecution of Phil Jones, his wife Ruth's fierce support of her husband and the fight for the ultimate exoneration of himself and the science."

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.