Where was Guilt filmed? Scotland filming locations for the BBC Two drama

The BBC's Edinburgh-based drama has caused a bit of a stir thanks to its choice of filming locations.

By Ross Mcindoe
Thursday, 31st October 2019, 8:19 am

Guilt, a dark-comedy drama, commissioned by BBC Scotland's new digital channel, made headlines when it was revealed that despite being largely set in Edinburgh’s Leith area, the show had actually been filmed in Glasgow and East Kilbride.

The four-part series revolves around brothers Max (Mark Bonnar) and Jake (Jamie Sives), who inadvertently become killers when they run an elderly man over in a residential street after a wedding.

As they attempt to cover up their accidental crime, they quickly find themselves in way over their heads.

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Guilt is a new drama from BBC Scotland with a typically dark sense of humour. Picture: BBC

The series’ production team was critical of Edinburgh’s inability to host TV crews, citing the “hellish” tourist footfall and high filming costs as key factors in the show’s decision not to film as many scenes as planned in the Scottish capital.

So while some scenes were filmed in Edinburgh, most of the series was shot in East Kilbride and Glasgow.

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Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives star in Guilt. Picture: BBC


Although the series is set in Edinburgh, the bulk of it was actually captured in and around Glasgow.

While Leith-born star Mark Bonnar and the show’s writer, Neil Forsyth, were both keen on shooting in the capital, a combination of expenses and logistics soon altered their plans.

According to the show’s location manager, filming in Glasgow proved to be 30% cheaper than Edinburgh.

As they try and cover up for an accidental murder, the brothers quickly find themselves in way over their heads. Picture: BBC

The Parkhouse Business Parks in the city’s northern suburbs provided most of the scenery, as well as a few places within a short distance of it.

As a dark crime story set in a city famous for its shipbuilding, it only makes sense that the Clydebank Docks makes an appearance.

The show’s story also called for certain scenes to be set in the Highlands but, rather than tramping all the way up north, they made do with Aberfoyle in the Trossachs – a tidy 27 miles northwest of Glasgow.

Bute House couldn't be used for security purposes, so a house next door was shot instead. (Picture: Alistair Linford)

They had also planned to film some scenes inside the City Chambers, but the European elections, which were then taking place, made it impossible.

East Kilbride

The inciting incident of the whole story – the hit-and-run committed by the two brothers – supposedly takes place somewhere in Edinburgh's Leith area.

For this vital scene, East Kilbride was used as a stand-in.

One particular challenge the show faced was finding the three suburban homes, which play a key role in the story.


Parkhouse Business Park, situated in the north of Glasgow, was also previously used for productions including BBC1 dramas Trust Me and The Victim. (Picture: Creative Scotland)

Given the difficulties in filming there, Edinburgh was reserved for the scenes the director really wanted to add a bit of visual panache to.

When the time came to find a building to double as a dodgy foreign embassy, one in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square caught the director’s eye, and appeared to be a perfect fit.

The only problem? It turned out to be Bute House, the current residence of Nicola Sturgeon.

While it was eventually ruled out due to security concerns, the building next door made for an ideal alternative.

Instead of filming in the Highlands, the team went to Aberfoyle in the Trossachs. (Picture: VisitScotland)