Where is Better filmed? Filming locations used in the new BBC thriller

The crime thriller promises to be the new Happy Valley

Leila Farzad as DI Lou Slack in Better
(Image credit: BBC)

The highly anticipated BBC crime thriller has arrived - let's take a look at where Better is filmed.

A new five-part series has landed on the BBC, coming from award-winning content studio SISTER, which was behind hit dramas Chernobyl and This Is Going to Hurt. The latest release is being hailed as the perfect show to fill the hole left by Happy Valley season three ending, and just like viewers wanted to know where Happy Valley was filmed - along with another upcoming BBC drama Best Interests - now the same is being asked of Better.

The thriller follows corrupt DI Lou Slack, as she tries to take down Col McHugh - who is both the head of Leeds criminal underworld and Lou's friend - after the pair struck up a deal 19 years ago that changed their lives forever. The BBC says of the show, "Everyone has their own version of right and wrong. A corrupt copper and a Leeds gangster are bound together by decades of dishonesty. To break the ties, there's only one way out." Keep reading to find out where Better is filmed...

Where is Better filmed?

Better is both set and filmed in and around Leeds, West Yorkshire. Recognisable locations featured in the series include the Corn Exchange in the city centre and Plumpton Rocks in Harrogate.

Co-writer of the series Jonathan Brackley said, "It was very important for us to set it somewhere with its own distinct identity. Somewhere that could become sort of a character, a part of the show in its own right."

He added: "Plumpton Rocks up near Harrogate was an amazing location to shoot. We shot there twice, once in the day and once again overnight, which serves as the finale of the show. It's such a striking, wonderful place with these amazing rock formations and a manmade lake which felt like an evocative place to set the emotional finale of our show."

Leading actress Leila Farzad spoke to the BBC about filming in Leeds, saying: "It's such a beautiful city. Being able to see the town hall every day, filming in places like the Corn Exchange, there's wonderful places to eat and being by the canal... it's a real mixture of old and new.

"It was incredible to immerse myself in it for the time that I was shooting there. Ninety per cent of the crew were based in Manchester or Leeds so talking to them every day really helped fuel the motor of Lou Slack and imbued me with an extra something."

Andrew Buchan, who stars in the show as Col, added: "Leeds is a brilliant place, it's such an amazing city. It's so vibrant and full of life with brilliant people and the banter's class!"

Better filming locations

  • The Capitol Building, Bond Court, was used as the set of the Central Yorkshire Police Station
  • The old Weetwood Police Station was used as a production base
  • The Queens Hotel bar was the filming location of the series' opening scene
  • Sheesh Mahal, Kirkstall Road, is Col's favourite restaurant
  • Victoria Hotel, Great George Street, was used as the set of a drug deal
  • Plumpton Rocks, Harrogate, was the location for the show's finale
  • The Corn Exchange, Call Lane
  • Hidden Wardrobe, The Concourse Corn Exchange
  • Sir Fred Hoyle bypass, Bingley
  • Kirkstall Road, Allerton Street, and Cardigan Lane, Burley

Andrew Buchan as Col McHugh on the set of Better

(Image credit: BBC)

What is Better about?

Better follows DI Lou Slack (Leila Farzad), who has built her career on corruption and is finally deciding to find redemption, following a family crisis. But that will mean taking down a man she has come to love like a brother.

That man is Col McHugh (Andrew Buchan), who Lou helped place at the head of Leeds criminal underworld following a deal the pair struck at the start of both their careers.

The BBC synopsis reads: "19 years ago, when Lou was a young police officer at her lowest ebb and Col a low-ranking but ambitious newcomer to the Leeds underworld, their paths crossed, and they struck a deal that changed their lives forever.

"The bargain allowed Col to become very rich and very powerful, and Lou to turn around her failing career. A complex but special bond between the pair was forged, and so began Lou’s gradual slide into corruption. But now, when Lou’s family is brought to the brink of a tragedy, she must put right the wrongs that she has spent years rationalising and excusing, to have a second chance at a new, better life."

Co-creator Sam Vincent said when describing the show: "It is about good and bad. It is the exploration of a bad person trying to become good and how difficult that is.

"And if that's even possible, really, and what good and bad means, how people feel about themselves in different ways."

He added: "Better is absolutely not a police procedural, certainly not a whodunit, because the person who 'done it' is the hero."

Leila Farzad as Lou Slack and Andrew Buchan as Col McHugh behind a frosted window

(Image credit: BBC)

Better cast

  • Leila Farzad (I Hate Suzie) as DI Lou Slack
  • Andrew Buchan (Broadchurch, The Crown) as Col McHugh
  • Samuel Edward-Cook (Peaky Blinders) as Ceri Davies
  • Carolin Stoltz (Maternal, Shetland) as Alma
  • Zak Ford-Williams (Wolfe) as Owen
  • Kaya Moore (Waterloo Road) as Noel Wilkes
  • Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones, Andor) as Vernon
  • Ceallach Spellman (Cold Feet) as Donal
  • Olivia Nakintu as DC Esther Okoye
  • Joseph Steyne as Joleon
  • Anthony Lewis as DC Niall Ibbotson
  • Junade Khan as DS Pritam Khan
  • Gavin Spokes as DI Phil Cowper
  • Charley Webb as Elise
  • Gary Cooper as Peter 'Bulgey' Donovan
  • Mark Monero as Lord Roy
  • Mor Bar-El as Artem

Leading lady Leila Farzad told What To Watch, "Better is a brilliant fresh take on the morality tale. I'm excited to have the opportunity to play Lou Slack, the vehicle through which we explore the multivalent layers of good and bad. A complex, flawed yet utterly human character. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a wonderful show with an incredibly talented team attached to it."

Writers and executive producers Jonathan Brackley and Sam Vincent have said: "We’re delirious and feel incredibly fortunate to have assembled - with Sister and the BBC - such a gifted group of people to tell this story in the great city of Leeds, with a wealth of local Yorkshire talent on and off camera. This incredible cast are exciting us every day, pushing the show’s exploration of morality and redemption to ever more thrilling, surprising, and yet darkly funny places. With any luck, we’ve got enough brilliant people to make ourselves look good."

How many episodes of Better are there?

There are five episodes of Better in total. The series premiered on BBC One on Monday 13 February, and there will be one episode broadcast every Monday until the finale on 13 March.

However, the entire series is already available to stream on BBC iPlayer - so you can binge the whole thing whenever you want. 

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.