Holding ITV—where was Graham Norton's mystery drama series filmed and is it the same as his bestselling book?

The Holding ITV adaptation features a brilliant Irish cast and a spectacularly picturesque setting…

Holding ITV adaptation of Graham Norton's book, starring Conleth Hill
(Image credit: ITV)

The Holding ITV adaptation of Graham Norton’s bestselling book has finally landed and the Irish-set drama’s filming locations are truly transporting. 

From the moment the new Holding ITV show landed, it’s clear that this would be the perfect mix of dark mystery and hilarious comedy to brighten our days this spring. Starring Conleth Hill as Irish village police officer PJ Collins, his whole peaceful existence is overturned by the discovery of human remains. 

Thrown in at the deep end, PJ must engage with the community like never before as rumors swirl that the body could be that of missing local Tommy Burke. If you loved the twists and turns of the Our House ending but love the quiet setting of Endeavour season 8 then Holding is well worth checking out. 

But where was Holding ITV filmed, is it the same as Graham Norton’s book and how many episodes are there until the shocking murders in Duneen are finally solved? 

Holding ITV starring Conleth Hill

(Image credit: ITV)

Where was Holding ITV filmed? 

The setting often heightens a sense of mystery and whether it’s the seascapes where The Bay was filmed, or the Mediterranean location where The Holiday was filmed, thriller fans are often just as captivated by the location as the dramatic plotline. The new Holding adaptation is no different and the sweeping Irish countryside setting of the drama is the perfect contrast to the dark goings on. 

And it seems there’s nothing quite like the real deal, as Holding ITV was filmed in West Cork, in Ireland. Opening up to RadioTimes.com, main cast member and Game of Thrones star Conleth Hill revealed that they filmed Holding in a number of beautiful villages there. 

"We filmed in two different villages in West Cork," he explained. "The main... shop and everything else, the bar—were all in Drimoleague.”

“[E]verything was on location,” Conleth added, before revealing, “There's no studio, there were no things [made] specially... It was all in and around Skibbereen and all West Cork, we didn't travel very far."

He also expressed his belief that the West Cork landscape is almost “another character” in itself, with the blend of rural and “cosmopolitan” elements making it the perfect choice.

Conleth disclosed, "I think that the landscape is definitely another character in it... The weird thing about West Cork is you've got this cosmopolitan element, but you've also this still very rural element. And so you have all these mixes, that contradiction within that place.”

Holding ITV starring Conleth Hill

(Image credit: ITV)

Given that PJ chose the fictional West Cork village of Duneen as a safe place to live quietly, his actor also believes their filming location perfectly worked to bring that sense of being somewhat hidden away. 

"The way they talk about it within the script, you know, he [PJ] says that people looked at a map and decided this [West Cork] was the safest place to live in the world from fallout from nuclear [war]. So there's an argument that it's a place that people go to hide as well,” he said.

Conleth’s sentiments were echoed by series writer and executive producer Karen Cogan, who reportedly explained at a press event that the “juxtaposition” and inherent Irishness of Cork meant they simply had to film Holding ITV there. 

Holding ITV starring Charlene McKenna

(Image credit: ITV)

“It was a case of getting there as soon as possible and making sure we film there,” she said. “The juxtaposition of dark and light is very typical [of] Ireland and especially Cork, there [are] so many contradictions to the place, it made us cement that tone of light and dark.

"It’s very inherently Irish and every new place we went to was exciting. It all lifted us up. Every place felt like a ‘tick’ that we were in the right physical place to do it.”

Alongside the Irish villages of Drimoleague and Skibbereen, filming is also understood to have taken place in the waterside village of Castletownshend in West Cork. Very sadly for anyone hoping to pay a visit to Duneen on their next trip to Ireland, this particular village doesn’t actually exist. 

Holding by Graham Norton | Amazon | £3.00

The remote Irish village of Duneen is shocked to its core when human remains are uncovered at an old farm. Suspected to be the body of missing Tommy Burke, frustrated police sergeant PJ Collins finds himself undertaking his first ever serious case. And with a whole community's secrets starting to rise to the surface, it seems a whole lot of resentment has been lurking...

Duneen was created by Graham Norton as the perfect setting for his book, though all the villages used as Holding ITV filming locations came together perfectly to make this fictional setting a reality. Unlike the Stay Close filming locations earlier this year for the Netflix hit, however, the West Cork location of Holding matches Graham’s bestselling novel. 

Packed full of comedy and darker moments, Holding ITV’s setting is the perfect backdrop for this countryside mystery.

Who is in the cast of Holding ITV? 

Holding starring Conleth Hill

(Image credit: ITV)

Holding ITV cast list:

  • PJ Collins—Conleth Hill
  • Bríd Riordan—Siobhán McSweeney
  • Evelyn Ross—Charlene McKenna
  • Abigail Ross—Helen Bahan
  • Florence Ross—Amy Conroy
  • Lizzie Meany—Brenda Fricker
  • Linus—Clinton Liberty

The Holding ITV cast is a who’s who of brilliant Irish actors lead by Conleth Hill, perhaps best known internationally for his role as scheming Lord Varys in Game of Thrones. In the Irish drama he plays Sergeant PJ Collins, who enjoys a quieter pace of life, right up until the moment human remains are uncovered on a local farm. 

Who could it be? Well, it seems likely the remains are that of local man Tommy Burke who hasn’t been seen in many years, leaving many of his former acquaintances as prime suspects in PJ’s first ever major investigation. 

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Prior to his disappearance Tommy had been in a relationship with Bríd Riordan, played by the wonderful Siobhán McSweeney, set to return in Derry Girls season 3 as the formidably funny Sister Michael. 

But it seems Tommy and fidelity didn’t go together and he was having an affair with Evelyn Ross, played by Peaky Blinders star Charlene McKenna. Evelyn isn’t the only Ross in Holding ITV, though, as she still lives with her two sisters, Abigail (Helen Bahan) and Florence (Amy Conroy). 

Holding ITV starring Siobhan McSweeney

(Image credit: ITV)

The reason for their close bond and cohabitation is due to be explored later on in the Holding adaptation though in Graham Norton’s book it’s revealed pretty early on that a past trauma has bound them together. 

They’re joined in the Holding ITV cast by Casualty legend Brenda Fricker who plays Lizzie Meany. Lizzie is PJ’s housekeeper and a protective influence in his life in Duneen, though she’s not without her own demons and Brenda has described her character as a “dark horse” in the series.

Holding starring Conleth Hill and Brenda Fricker

(Image credit: ITV)

PJ is helped out in his murder case by Linus, played by Normal People actor Clinton Liberty and with so many suspects and so little time, the race is on to uncover secrets that—like Tommy, it seems—have long remained buried…

How many episodes are there of Holding? 

If you’ve already been well and truly drawn into the countryside mystery, then there’s even more good news as Holding ITV is four episodes long. This means that despite the drama ramping up, viewers aren’t facing an unbearably agonizing wait to discover if the remains found are really those of the missing Tommy Burke. Each of the four episodes is an hour long and will be broadcast at 9pm on ITV One every Monday on a weekly basis, having premiered on March 14th. 

But if the prospect of even three more weeks of playing armchair detective fills you with dread and impatience then never fear! Just like with high-octane drama Trigger Point ITV and with the broadcaster’s Our House episodes, viewers can enjoy all four installments of Holding on the ITV Hub right now.  

Holding ITV cast members

(Image credit: ITV)

Sadly, if you’re abroad when Holding airs or the mood takes you to binge-watch your way through the new drama series, you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. Thankfully there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”

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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:


  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch Holding online. 

VPN disclaimer

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As the new Holding ITV adaptation continues, there's plenty of time to form your own theories about what has really been concealed behind Duneen's peaceful exterior. But when it comes to uncovering a possible killer in PJ's midst, one thing's for sure—the countryside copper certainly has his work cut out! 

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.