By Ben Mulvey
Any movie and TV buffs with a keen eye may have noticed that lots of the things that you have been watching have a familiar backdrop recently. And, if you’re like me, you shout “Mallorca!” at the television every time you see a mountain or a seascape. Well, with numerous production companies choosing the Balearic Islands as the setting for their films, shows and adverts, we may not always be wrongly claiming the settings of the latest Hollywood blockbusters and Netflix releases.
With 300 days of sunshine, stunning mountain ranges, and crystal clear waters, it is no wonder that the Balearics are becoming one of the most sought-after filming locations. It also helps that the airports are open year-round for easy access, there are enough high-end hotels to satisfy even the most discerning of A-listers, and many locations could be passed off as any other tropical location worldwide.
There was a lot of buzz last year when Hollywood superstars Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana flew in to film the Paramount+ show, “Special Ops: Lioness” in Mallorca. Few details were released before the show aired but the actors were pictured in full military costume carrying guns and emerging from the water in the dead of night. Mallorca was actually written into the storyline with the main character attending a wedding on the island, but the beautiful wedding came with plenty of drama as one would expect from a show named “Special Ops”. The stars were all spotted enjoying the island between filming days with Nicole Kidman posting pictures from her hotel on Instagram, Morgan Freeman eating pizza in Palma, and Zoe Saldana exploring the island with her family.
Netflix’s smash hit series, “The Crown”, was also partly filmed in Mallorca, specifically in Palma, Sant Elm, Andratx, and Soller. Netflix chose the island as the backdrop for scenes in series five and six, once as Mallorca and once as a stand-in for Italy. Actress Elizabeth Debicki, who plays the role of Princess Diana, was seen off the coast of the island on a boat and in various other scenarios. Even the poster for the new series has Elizabeth Debicki sitting on the back of a yacht (representing the famous Princess Diana photo taken in the South of France aboard Dodi Al Fayed´s yacht) was shot in Andratx.
British TV fans will no doubt be familiar with Love Island, and love it or hate it, it draws in millions of viewers every series. The famous “Casa Amor” villa is in Sant Llorenç des Cardassar in Mallorca and the presenters, journalists and, of course, the contestants are all flown to the island a couple of weeks before and stay on for a week after the show airs. Some avid Love Island fans have even been known to fly to the island tofollow the contestants around and have even attempted to break into the villa! The Australian version of the show is also filmed on the island and has been known to be a little less raunchy than the British version – go figure!
Between all of these series that we all spend far too much time watching, there are of course the adverts. As irritating as they can often be (especially on British TV), a lot of time and money is spent on them and famous faces are frequently involved. Most recently, the catchy advert with Jess Glynne’s ‘Hold My Hand’ playing throughout shows a group of very excited-looking holidaymakers dancing in Plaza La Lonja in Palma – did you spot it?
Another advert that we can’t seem to escape is for the British mobile network, Sky Mobile which is also filmed in Mallorca. Actress Lily James is the star of this jolly and upbeat advert which was filmed at the famous Belmond La Residencia Hotel. During filming, Lily was seen enjoying the local bars and restaurants in Deia and the surrounding areas and posted plenty of photos of her trip on her socials.
For our readers based in Ibiza, you guys have witnessed plenty of film crews on the island over the years for music videos in some of the top clubs and on the back of yachts. Most recently, however, singer Lewis Capaldi stripped to his tighty-wighties at the Pikes Hotel to film the music video for his 2022 song, “Forget Me”. The video pokes fun at the famous “Club Tropicana” video that made the late, great George Michael an international thirst-trap. For such a sad song, the quirky video was quite surprising but director Louis Bhose explained, “You hear a sad song and you expect a sad video. There’s catharsis in that. But to go in the other direction completely felt more in line with the Lewis that walked onstage at Glastonbury in full Noel Gallagher getup”.
So next time you are channel-surfing or diving into a new series, pay attention to those mesmerising blues, cobbled streets and dramatic landscapes as they could be the very same views that we are all lucky enough to see every day. And keep your eyes peeled for the celebrities that are on the island – there are more around than you think!