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Welcome to the “Who Pays the Ferryman?” locations page. If, like me, you are a big fan of the popular 1977 BBC TV series, and are curious as to the locations used in the series (or even have a passing interest in where they actually filmed), then I hope these pages are of interest to you.

At the time of writing this (April 2021), it’s been approximately 44 years since the series was made. In that time, many of the buildings and locations may have changed and may be unrecognisable. TV programmes such as these (especially Ferryman) were the catalyst for increased tourism and subsequent development that came with it, so some areas may be nigh-on impossible to find.

During lockdown, I’ve researched these locations, mainly using Google Maps and Google Street View, and matching them to screenshots of the TV programme off YouTube. Whilst I can’t physically be there, the next best thing is using Google.

If you’re a fan of the TV series, and indeed of Michael J Bird’s other work, then you must visit the Michael J Bird Tribute Site, here. This site also contains quite a few locations that have been contributed by it’s readers.

Each episode has it’s own page, containing all the locations for that episode.. The other pages contain information related to the series so be sure to check them out.

If you have any other information on the locations that have been found, or indeed have found any of the missing locations, or have any other suggestions to improve the site, please do feel free to contact me using the comments facility.

Anthony

RIP Jack Hedley, 28/10/1929 – 11/12/2021

It is with a heavy heart that I write this latest blog post – Jack Hedley, the principal actor in Who Pays the Ferryman?, has passed away, aged 92, after a short illness.

He brought a wonderful depth of character to the role of Alan Haldane, and played him beautifully.

His talent will live on in the wonderful roles he played on TV and in film. May he rest in peace.

An obituary in The Guardian is here.

Dafnai found!

Shortly after finding the funeral procession road, I found the village of Dafnai nearby. I was on the right track by checking the general area, but I also had to really delve deep into every scene there was in the episode, no matter how brief or how little detail was shown. The mountains in the background weren’t very visible in general – the only help was a very short sequence where Major Krasakis visits the village, and even then I had to piece together the mountain range in the background from a panning shot which was quite time consuming. This is what I came up with.

Now, this may look a mess, but once I’d found the funeral procession into Hamilon, I only had to look at the landscape nearby, and this exact same mountain range appeared. From there it was just a case of moving from street to street or to the next village until I found Dafnai. In this case, it was the next village to the west of Hamilon, called Flamouriana.

Check out the find, it’s on the episode 4 page.

Funeral procession route found

I have been looking for this location thinking it was near to the cemetery that was used at the end of episode 4. The tree-lined road leading up to the cemetery certainly looked the same. However, none of the mountains in the background matched.

At the same time, nothing in Fourni seems to match the actual central village area where Haldane, Annika and Viglis park up, the restaurant where Haldane and Annika have lunch, or where the fight happens. The church where Annika was christened is certainly in Fourni, but the other parts of Dafnai weren’t filmed in Fourni in my opinion.

I started looking further afield around the Lasithi region and happened upon a matching mountain range, that I thought looked interesting. Part of it looked like it might match the Dafnai village, but travelling through Google Street View, it was apparent that the mountain ranges matched the procession route instead! Check this location out – it’s on the episode 4 page. The village in question is called Hamilon and is to the west of Ayios Nikolaos.

What is strange to me is that they didn’t just use the roads leading up to the actual cemetery. If I have the opportunity to ask any of the crew about why this area was used, I will.

Still, one more location ticked off the list!

Translations and title captions added

Throughout the series, there are occasions when Greek is spoken, without subtitles. For those of you that may be wondering what has been said, I have translated (or attempted to translate where possible) those particular conversations.

These are in the ‘Translations’ page in the top menu. At the bottom of that page, I have also kept the general phrases as these pop up frequently and there is no need to put these into the main translations.

Also, at the top of each episode page, I have placed a screenshot of the title caption so that viewers can see how they were overlaid onto the first scene in that episode.

Credits added

I noticed recently that the end credits are also filmed sequences, with the credit text overlaid. These are also locations that can be documented and Google pinned on the site.

I have gone through and added the ones I hadn’t already done (episodes 6 and 8 from memory). Episodes 1 and 7 are the same. All locations (both Google Street View and Google Maps pins) have now been added. I’ve yet to add them to the main map page as that is still in progress.

Check them out, they’re at the very bottom of each episode page. I think I’ll also transcribe the credits, as the cast and crew seems to vary slightly for each episode.

Map added

Hello everyone, I’ve now also added a Google Map page. This will eventually show all locations on one map, with a ‘pin’ for each location. Click on the pin and there is a short description of that location.

I have started with the main ones, and will populate where time allows. Click on the ‘Map’ menu to get started.

All location screen captures & full list of all outstanding locations completed

I have finished documenting every exterior location in the whole series. What this means is that for every exterior scene or location, I have grabbed at least one screen capture and put it on the site, along with text describing the whole story. So now the story is comprehensively told through text and screen captures as well as showing many of the locations they were filmed at.

I have also been adding the outstanding locations from those screen captures to the ‘Help Me Find” page, so now I have a complete list of the remaining locations left to find.

As always, if you can help me out with any of these I would be most grateful. Use the comments facility to send me a message.

Pebble Mill Studios

I had a quick email conversation with Andrew Morgan, Production Assistant and stand-in Director for some episodes, about which studio was used for the interior sets.

You could tell which scenes were shot in a studio, and which were on location. The studio scenes were a lot more crisp visually and the lighting a lot better for interior scenes.

The intention was for there to be a lot more studio work involved in the series. The Greek Film Centre stated that as they had funded a large proportion of the production, most of it should be filmed there. And thankfully it was, as we get to see so much more of Crete’s beauty. It’s hard to see where more studio scenes could have been filmed, really.

I asked Andrew where the studio scenes were filmed – were they in Greece or in the UK? The end credits held the clue – “BBC Birmingham” was displayed at the end. He said it was filmed at Pebble Mill studios in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

The BBC acquired the lease to the site for a peppercorn rent in the 1950s, and plans were drawn up for a new National Production Centre in 1967. Construction was completed in 1971 and was officially opened by Princess Margaret on the 10th June 1971.

There were 2 main studios, A and B. A measured 6,500 square feet, B measured 40 x 25 feet, and was used for local news and sport programmes. Studio C was added later – the foyer was converted into a studio once the reception was moved elsewhere. This is where programmes like ‘Pebble Mill at One’ were filmed.

Pebble Mill closed in 2004 once all technology from the site was transferred to The Mailbox in Birmingham City Centre and the BBC Drama Village at the Selly Oak campus of the University of Birmingham. This was due to various factors – problems with the lease, the way in which TV programmes were now being produced, and also because of ‘concrete cancer’, which affected parts of the site. The building was eventually demolished in 2006.

The site is now home to a dental hospital.

Photos from the Birmingham Mail, there are more on their website.

Shepherd Location found!

Just before Haldane gets to the orange grove and meets Annika for the first time, he stops to allow a shepherd to move his flock of sheep across the road.

This is near Selinari Canyon, on the old road that runs parallel to Motorway 90 / E75.

This is also just north of an earlier shot of Haldane driving on the motorway.

Check out the Episode 1 page for more photos and Street View / Maps views.