Where was Boarders filmed? Everything we know about the school-based comedy drama

The coming-of-age comedy was filmed in one British city

The cast of Boarders stood in front of the building where it was filmed
(Image credit: BBC)

A new BBC drama follows five talented pupils who obtain a scholarship to boarding school - and viewers want to know where Boarders was filmed.

Created by Bafta nominated Daniel Lawrence Taylor (Timewasters), new BBC comedy-drama Boarders follows five underprivileged black students from inner-city London who win scholarships to an elite school. The show offers a unique perspective on the experience of going to boarding school, as the teenage protagonists navigate a world in which they feel out of place and underestimated.

Much like other new releases The Zone of Interest and Madame Web have eager audiences asking questions, viewers want to know more about Boarders too. We've dived into where the series is filmed, and everything else you need to know.

Where was Boarders filmed?

Boarders was filmed in Bristol. Much of the filming took place at Clifton College, a top independent boarding school in the north-west of the city, which currently charges £15,480 per term for Sixth Form boarders and £10,045 for day pupils of the same age.

The show was filmed over the school summer holidays in 2023, and Clifton College's boarding houses, grand library, sports grounds and traditions were seen as a perfect match for Boarders' fictional St Gilbert's.

A post shared by Clifton College

A photo posted by cliftoncollegeuk on

BristolWorld spoke with the cast members to find out how they found filming in the city. Josh Tedeku, who plays Jaheim in the show, said of Clifton College: "It's huge, it’s massive, it’s like Hogwarts. There’s so many corridors and classrooms, I don’t feel like we went around the whole school.

"There’s something nostalgic about it, maybe that’s because it reminds me of Harry Potter. It’s a beautiful school."

Meanwhile, Jodie Campbell, who plays Leah, added, "Bristol is lovely - it was a nice place to spend the summer with these guys and the wider cast."

And creator and executive producer Daniel Lawrence Taylor said, "There are also so many productions filming in Bristol at the moment so it was kind of a no-brainer to set up shop here."

Other filming locations around Bristol included Ashton Court - a country park and mansion with 850 acres of woodland and grassland - and Redcliffe, an area of Bristol to the south-east of the city centre.

What is Boarders about?

Boarders follows the five talented but underprivileged Black students from inner-city London who win scholarships to an elite boarding school. The students must get to grips with a very different life to the one they had in zone three, experiencing bizarre rituals, bullying and being constantly underestimated in their new environment.

A BBC synopsis reads: "From fun and independence to pressure and competition, first crushes, forging friendships and making enemies, Boarders will look at the experience of going to a top public school from a unique perspective. These kids may be outsiders but they’re determined to prove themselves - and shake things up along the way."

The series was inspired by a 2013 article in the Financial Times about five Black children from east London who won scholarships to Rugby School, as well as Daniel Lawrence Taylor's own experience attending Royal Holloway University in London.

"When Black people are in white institutions, we deal with it in very different ways," Daniel told The Guardian, "That’s what I wanted to do with the characters. When you put them in these environments, how do they survive? Some try to assimilate. Some rebel against it. Some play it to their advantage."

In a BBC press release, Daniel added, "As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to grow momentum, and the world is becoming more aware of black struggles in white institutions, a show like Boarders has never been more relevant or ripe for comedy. Working with Studio Lambert and the BBC has been an absolute joy, and I’ve also bagged myself some of the most exciting Black British voices to help me bring this show to the screen."

Boarders cast

  • Josh Tedeku as Jaheim
  • Jodie Campbell as Leah
  • Myles Kamwendo as Omar
  • Sekou Diaby as Toby
  • Aruna Jalloh as Femi
  • Daniel Lawrence Taylor as Gus
  • Derek Riddell as Bernard
  • Niky Wardley as Carol Watlington-Geese
  • Harry Gilby as Rupert
  • Tallulah Greive as Beatrix
  • Rosie Graham as Florence
  • Georgina Sadler as Mabel
  • Assa Kanoute as Abby

Jodie previously explained to Bristol World that she has her own personal experience of attending private school.

"Similar to Leah, I was a scholarship student so I did attend private school until I was 16," she said. "When I read the script, there were 100 per cent similarities with being a minority - the microagression, the stereotypes from teachers - it felt like the standard.

"I think when reading Boarders, when understanding the premise, it was really interesting to have something to relate to and also highlight the issues that come with these type of institutions. I think it’s a great show in terms of that."

How to watch Boarders

Boarders is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. All six episodes are now available on the platform, following their release on Tuesday 20 February. Episodes will also run weekly on Tuesdays at 9pm on BBC Three.

For more filming locations, we've revealed where The Madame Blanc mysteries was filmed and where Death in Paradise is filmed too.

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.