Leamington Spa used in filming of new ITV mini-series Stonehouse

Scenes from the upcoming drama series, Stonehouse, were shot on Clarendon Square in Leamington Spa, which is set to air on ITV. 

Filming took place between 2-8 February, with the Leamington architecture used as part of the historical drama. 

The ITV series will follow the true story of  British politician John Stonehouse, who is best known for his attempt at faking his own death on a Miami beach in 1974. 

As a former Labour MP for Wednesbury, Stonehouse was regarded as a “young start” in Harold Wilson’s first government, “apparently heading for high office”. 

When Wilson lost the 1970 general election, Stonehouse did not make it to the Shadow Cabinet and was relegated to the backbenches. 

He set up several high-risk companies which were later financially devastating, and he was interrogated by MI5 on suspicion of espionage after allegedly spying for Czechoslovakia. 

I considered, clearly wrongly, that the best action I could take was to create a new identity and attempt to live a new life away from these pressures

– John Stonehouse

To escape the debt and possible prosecution, Stonehouse faked his own death by leaving a pile of clothes in Miami and beginning a new life with a different identity in Australia. 

Stonehouse was arrested in December 1974, and wrote a letter to the Foreign Office explaining his actions: “My wish was to be released from the incredible pressures being put on me, particularly in my business activities, and various attempts at blackmail. 

“I considered, clearly wrongly, that the best action I could take was to create a new identity and attempt to live a new life away from these pressures.”

He added: “I suppose this can be summed up as a brainstorm or a mental breakdown.”

The series will follow Stonehouse’s life and reveal more about the scandals he was wrapped up in during the 1960s and 1970s.

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