Where was 'The Good Karma Hospital' filmed? All you need to know about the setting of the ITV drama

The medical drama returns for series 4. (ITV)
The medical drama returns for series 4. (ITV)

The Good Karma Hospital returns to ITV for a fourth season this Sunday, bringing with it a much-needed dose of sunshine to dark, cold winter evenings.

Despite filming restrictions the world over during the coronavirus pandemic, the medical series managed to get back out on location, forming a COVID-secure bubble of cast and crew.

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Here's all you need to know about where The Good Karma Hospital is filmed and how production went ahead during the pandemic.

Where is The Good Karma Hospital filmed? Where is it set?

The series is set in India but films in Sri Lanka. (ITV)
The series is set in India but films in Sri Lanka. (ITV)

Fans of the ITV drama will know that it is set in Kerala, a state in southern India, and follows British doctor Ruby Walker who moves there to work at a hospital under the management of another expat, Dr Lydia Fonseca (Amanda Redman) to get over a breakup.

However, the programme is actually filmed in Sri Lanka, in the Galle district.

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The area has a similar landscape to Kerala with sandy beaches, lush tropical forests and tea plantations.

If you're wondering why Sri Lanka was chosen instead, it all comes down to the weather - India is in monsoon season at the time that the series usually shoots.

How do the cast feel about filming in Sri Lanka?

Amanda Redman stars as Dr Lydia Fonseca. (ITV)
Amanda Redman stars as Dr Lydia Fonseca. (ITV)

As you can imagine, the chance to live and work in Sri Lanka for three months at a time is a dream for many of the UK-based cast.

Redman said: "I think it's one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to and it certainly for me does feel like a second home.

"When we arrive each year, the same people we haven't seen since last time, the welcome we get is out of this world. I love it."

Neil Morrissey says Sri Lanka will always be in his heart. (ITV)
Neil Morrissey says Sri Lanka will always be in his heart. (ITV)

Neil Morrissey, who plays barman and Lydia's love interest Greg McConnell, agreed: "The beauty exudes from the people, too, they can't do enough for you.

"It's a wonderful place to make a TV programme for a few months. It'll always stay in my heart. Even when I'm not making TV programmes there, I'll definitely go back to visit because we've made so many friends out there."

Series four welcomes Harki Bhambra as Dr Samir Hasan, who said he relished the opportunity to get to know a new country.

He said: "It was amazing. I'd never been to Sri Lanka and the beauty of working there was that you can really immerse yourself in the culture - it's not just a holiday or two or three weeks' travelling, you get to know the people and the culture and the customs and the food."

How did the cast deal with COVID restrictions?

Amanda Redman says it was her happiest series yet. (ITV)
Amanda Redman says it was her happiest series yet. (ITV)

Things were a little different for the stars this year, who arrived in Sri Lanka during lockdown to film series four.

Cast and crew were kept in separate bubbles, masks were worn on set and there was a strict protocol of PCR and antigen testing.

Writer Dan Sefton shared: "The hard thing was the continuity because we stopped (after filming last series) and then the pandemic happened but in the show not a lot of time has gone past. We had to work out how to deal with that which was tricky."

Redman said: "I had a bit of trepidation before I went out there because I just couldn't imagine what it would be like, but actually, in my opinion it was the happiest time I've spent there.

The cast held parties together in the evenings. (ITV)
The cast held parties together in the evenings. (ITV)

"We were in our bubbles, it was just us in this hotel and we did become this family, we became incredibly close. We knew each other very well anyway, but I think we got to know each other so well.

"We ate together every night at a big long dining table, almost like being at boarding school, and we would have sundowners outside.

"We would do a 5 o'clock swim when the waves were lovely and gentle, we just got incredibly close, it was lovely, I really enjoyed it."

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Morrissey added: "There would be a WhatsApp go round, swim at 4.30pm, so you'd have a swim for half an hour, quick shower off, then a sundowner at 6pm, watch the bats come over and then troop in for supper. It was great, a lovely routine."

Nimmi Harasgama who plays Nurse Mari Rodriguez lives in Sri Lanka and was happy to see her cast mates back on set.

She said: "We ended up becoming this kind of dysfunctional family, we had Amanda and her husband organising quiz nights, we had little events, we did a lot of stuff together and became quite close."

Redman added: "We all did different things - we had a disco, Neil was the disc jockey, Nimmi threw a party, we watched was really special."

Talking about his turn as a DJ, Morrissey joked: "I delved way back into the 70s and give the players what they want - T Rex or Dua Lipa, I could provide all."

The Good Karma Hospital series 4 begins on Sunday at 8pm on ITV.

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