The Widow on ITV location: Why was The Widow not filmed in the DRC?

THE WIDOW is getting tenser by the episode and tonight is expected to be no different. But many viewers may be wondering why the series set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was not actually shot on location in the African nation.

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The ITV series kicked off last week and will be hitting the halfway point this evening (Tuesday, April 16) on ITV at 9pm. The Widow is an eight-part series led by Underworld and Pearl Harbor’s Kate Beckinsale as a woman in search of her supposedly dead husband. The action is set in a number of locations across the world but most predominantly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), however, the series was not filmed there for a number of reasons.

The Widow wasn’t filmed in the DRC due to concerns over safety for the cast and crew, and simply the fact they weren’t allowed to.

Instead, the series was filmed in several locations across South Africa including Cape Town and Durban.

Speaking exclusively to, The Widow creators Harry and Jack Williams said: “We shot it in Cape Town in South Africa, which is a lovely town but looks nothing like The Congo which you’re not allowed to film in because it’s just too dangerous.

“To make anything in Cape Town, we shot some [scenes] in Durban and some on the East Coast and in South Africa.


“To make any single frame look like The Congo, you have to bring in extras and buildings.

“So it’s a big undertaking and a lot of that was simply trying to build that world and have somewhere unique and hardly ever seen on TV as The Congo.”

The critically-acclaimed writing duo chose to set their story in the Congo because it wasn’t a place often depicted on screen.

The pair also said the setting was central to the story, explaining this tale could not have been told anywhere else with the history and politics key to the thriller.


They also chose the setting because they’d wanted to write a story in the DRC for a while.

The writing pair combined the DRC setting with some ideas they’d had about being a widow and the emotional state of losing a partner.

Producer Eliza Mellor also separately told media including “We went on a research trip to Congo but [Harry and Jack] didn’t want to come.

“We went off and researched it with our production team but it was quite clear that you couldn’t shoot there.

“Kinshasa, yes is great. But as soon as you get out it’s too hard.”


The Widow on ITV was filmed in South Africa not the DRC (Image: ITV)

She continued: “There’s also no filming infrastructure there and in South Africa, you’ve got all the infrastructure.”

Mellor also spoke about some of the challenges during filming, saying: “On the big challenges was trying to find rainforests in South Africa.”

With the help of their directory of photography, they eventually managed to locate a rainforest in the region.

The Widow was filmed over the course of 21 weeks with the show moving from Rotterdam to Wales to South Africa during this time period.

“We were only in Rotterdam for three days. We were in Wales for a couple of weeks,” Mellor explained, while director Sam Donovan added: “Some of the interiors in Rotterdam, we shot in Cape Town.”