Saturday, 30 January 2016


Aidan Turner fans living in Cornwall must think they have died and gone to heaven.  Not only has the Irish heartthrob made repeated visits to the county for the filming of Poldark – one series in the bag and another to come – but in summer 2015 he turned up on the county’s south coast for the filming of And Then There Were None, a TV adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name – originally given the rather less PC name Ten Little Niggers - which was aired over Christmas.  Female fans were no doubt particularly thrilled by a scene featuring Turner clad in nothing but a towel. 

The stylish and suspenseful mini-series also included luminaries such as Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson and Sam Neill whose characters form part of a group of people who are lured to an island called Soldier Island under various pretexts.  All of the ‘guests’ have been involved in the deaths of other people during their pasts and escaped justice.  A spooky gramophone recording informs them that they are going to get their comeuppance, and a series of murders ensues until the final scene when only two of the group remain: ex-mercenary Philip Lombard (Aidan Turner) and Vera (Maeve Dermody).  The series was critically acclaimed as a highly atmospheric drama with wonderfully tense scenes, particularly over dinner as the guests all start to suspect each other.

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Mullion Island. Photo by John Garfoot, via Wikimedia Commons

The island which forms the main focus of the story was inspired by Burgh Island in Devon, but the island used in the TV series was Mullion Island.  In real life the island is a small uninhabited island offshore from Mullion Cove, which is where the scene was filmed in which the ill-fated group of guests are rowed out to the island.  In real life, Mullion Island does not have a mansion such as that depicted in the series: the building used for this was Harefield House in Hillingdon.  In one of the most striking scenes, there is an aerial view of a clifftop with a gaping hole and seagulls circling over it.  This was filmed at the Round Hole at Trevose Head near Constantine Bay on the North Cornwall coast. However, the most dramatic scene of all is the final showdown between Vera and Philip on one of the island’s beaches, with Philip ending up lying in a pool of blood in the shallows having been shot by Vera.  In real life this beach is Kynance Cove, one of the most beautiful spots on the Cornish coast.

Kynance Cove

Mullion Cove and Kynance Cove are very close together, both of them just to the west of Lizard Point, the most southerly place in mainland Britain.  Mullion’s tiny harbour has seen plenty of pirate and smuggling activity in the past.  The harbour was completed in 1895 with its two sturdy walls protecting the harbour from fierce winter gales.  The island is a nesting site for guillemots and kittiwakes, but is not open to the public.  Kynance Cove is a riot of interesting rock formations and golden sand lapped by turquoise sea.  There is a car park above the cove from where a path leads down to the beach, taking in a cafe on the way.  Just offshore is Asparagus Island, so called because wild asparagus used to grow there.  Trevose Head is a short distance from Padstow, and its Round Hole is a natural blowhole, formed from centuries of erosion upwards from caves below.  

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Mullion Cove Harbour. Photo by Tony Atkin, via Wikimedia Commons

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