The hit drama Back to Life returns to the BBC for its second season – and doesn’t disappoint viewers.

Set in Hythe, it follows Miri Matteson – played by series creator Daisy Haggard – as she returns to the outside world after spending 18 years behind bars for killing her best friend.

The second series of Back to Life – starring Daisy Haggard – was filmed in Folkestone, Hythe, and parts of Dover and Romney Marsh. Photo: Luke Varley

The first series, as of 2019, achieved a 100% approval rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes and now its second season has already received 5 * reviews in The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Besides Haggard, it stars Geraldine James, Adeel Akhtar, Jo Martin, Christine Bottomley, Ade Edmondson and Meera Syal.

The first episode of the new series first aired on BBC Three at the end of August, but all six episodes can be viewed on iPlayer.

And if you’ve ever watched the whole series (like we did), you would have noticed the various locations in the Folkestone neighborhood that were used for filming, including the Harbor Arm and the beaches.

There are also many references to Hythe – some real and some made up.

Two figures meet on Folkestone Harbor Arm.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
Two figures meet on Folkestone Harbor Arm. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Here we list some of the ways the seaside town was included in the show and, in some ways, became its own character.

* We’ve tried to avoid spoilers, in case you haven’t completed the series yet *

Own hythe

Miri’s dad, Oscar, played by Richard Durden, is obsessed with recycling and is as fond of making sure the right items go in the right bins as he is of efficiently loading the dishwasher.

His latest crusade is to tidy the streets of Hythe and he is launching a Make Hythe Clean account on Instagram.

He takes to the High Street to encourage others to join his campaign against litter.

His activism is not out of place in Hythe, which has many green city and district councilors and its residents are not opposed to a protest.

St Julius of Hythe serves as the meeting point in the series.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
St Julius of Hythe serves as the meeting point in the series. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Saint Julius

In the show, the Ladies of Hythe use the church as a meeting point for their food bank and flower arrangement work.

The church is called St Julius of Hythe, with a sign welcoming people into the building.

As far as we know, such a church does not exist.

The building contact number also begins with 01632, but Hythe’s actual area code is 01303.

Miri's father, with the Hythe stores in the background.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
Miri’s father, with the Hythe stores in the background. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Sleepy city

When Miri meets her neighbor Billy for dinner, she is surprised that the restaurant is empty.

And when she asks him if he rented the whole room, Billy replies that it’s quiet because it’s “8:30 pm in Hythe”.

Miri’s mother also describes herself at one point as Hythe’s most hated wife following an STI scandal.

The compound driving test center.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
The compound driving test center. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Bank and test center

As Miri focuses on restarting her life, she realizes that she needs some essential things, like a bank account and a driver’s license.

As such, she is seen visiting Hythe Bank and Hythe Driving Test Center.

Although there is a Santander in the city, the closest place to take a driving test is along the coast in Folkestone.

“Hythe Bank”. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Visit the stores

Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to glimpse several Hythe stores in the background, including Posh Potions, Artisan, and Root, all on the High Street.

The Swan hotel and its Cgynet cocktail bar are also visible, as well as the town hall.

Acfold of Hythe also appears behind Oscar when handing out fliers, but this appears to be added for the show.

At one point, the characters refer to a Starbucks, but unfortunately the coffee chain does not exist in reality. There is a Costa though.

The local police are also part of the Southeastern Police in the series, as opposed to the Kent Police.

People walk past the Swan Hotel in Hythe.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
People walk past the Swan Hotel in Hythe. Photo: BBC iPlayer
The Folkestone Harbor Arm Lighthouse is regularly featured.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
The Folkestone Harbor Arm Lighthouse is regularly featured. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Locate the landmark

Just along the Hythe coast is the Folkestone Harbor Arm, which features prominently in the second series, with one of the pivotal scenes taking place there.

In real life, the popular tourist spot has been brought back to life in recent years by owner Folkestone Harbor & Seafront Development Company.

In addition to the Channel view, visitors can enjoy the open-air cinema, various food and drink vendors, and mini-golf along the arm.

For Back to Life, however, all of this is missing. The Lighthouse Champagne Bar has also disappeared from the series, although one of the characters reveals that there are plans to transform it into a champagne and oyster bar.

Much like the first series, the sound mirror at Abbot’s Cliff, between Folkestone and Dover, is also shown on several occasions.

The characters also frequent the pebble beaches of the neighborhood.

The Abbot's Cliff sound mirror on the White Cliffs of Dover is also a regular sight in series one and two
The Abbot’s Cliff sound mirror on the White Cliffs of Dover is also a regular sight in series one and two
You are now leaving Hythe.  Photo: BBC iPlayer
You are now leaving Hythe. Photo: BBC iPlayer

Fans of the drama took to social media to express their joy at seeing parts of the neighborhood in the show.

Alison Moncrieff-Kelly said on Twitter: “Back To Life is just wonderful. I live in Hythe – or just outside – and the choice of Hythe as my town is perfect.

“Beautiful writing, beautiful shooting and incredibly funny moments in the bathos.”

Another viewer, @DoctorWarmflash, said: “I am not the one checking real estate prices in Hythe because I have completed Back To Life.”

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

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