Silent Witness upsets Isle of Sheppey by not naming location

The BBC crime drama was filmed on location on the Kent island but referred to as a fictional town in Essex.

Emilia Fox in the Silent Witness episode set in the fictional town of Southbay. (BBC)
Emilia Fox in the Silent Witness episode set in the fictional town of Southbay. (BBC)

Silent Witness has upset residents of the Isle of Sheppey for using it as a location but giving it a fake name.

The BBC crime drama – starring Emilia Fox – set its two part series finale on the small island on the north coast of Kent but called the town Southbay and said it was in Essex.

Phil Crowder, chairman of the Sheerness Town Team in Sheppey told Kent Online: "I'm going to write a strongly-worded letter of complaint to the producers.

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"Earlier in the series they went to Dartford and had no trouble saying where they were. But for some reason they changed the name of Sheppey to a place called Southbay.

Silent Witness stars Emilia Fox and Amanda Burton. (BBC)
Silent Witness stars Emilia Fox and Amanda Burton, the latter of whom returned briefly in series 25. (BBC)

"I know it is a fictional story but if Dartford can get a name check in the same series then I don't understand why Sheppey can't. It's really frustrating. We need all the help we can get these days to attract tourists.

"There were some lovely shots of the Kingsferry Bridge and the beaches at Minster and Shellness but no one will know where they are."

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Referring to Silent Witness placing the fictional town in Essex, which was referenced on screen by one of the characters, Crowder said: "That really did take the biscuit. It's unbelievable. We are not even in Kent any more! It was a wasted opportunity."

The BBC said, "no offence was meant in anyway" by not naming the Isle of Sheppey as a real place.

Silent Witness
The BBC said no offence was meant by Silent Witness not name-checking Sheppey. (BBC)

The two episodes of the finale of season 26 of the murder investigation series were called Southbay Part 1 and Southbay Part 2.

After prime minister Rishi Sunak was criticised for giving £210m towards 'levelling up' projects in the south east, while northern regions were allocated less money, The Sun ran a feature on the Isle of Sheppey, highlighting why parts of the region were in need of funds.

It called Sheppey a "dead seaside town blighted by yobs".

Watch: The trailer for Silent Witness season 26