Amalfi Coast beats Whitley Bay for top television backdrop

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon toured the Italian countyside for ‘The Trip’ Revolution Films

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It provided a backdrop to jovial bickering, a lot of drinking and some very bad Al Pacino impressions – and now the Italian location for BBC comedy The Trip has been voted the must-visit television destination of the year.

The second series of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s road trip adventure saw the pair play themselves while touring round Piedmont, Tuscany, Pisa, Rome, the Amalfi Coast and Capri. The picturesque countryside has now topped a shortlist of 10 destinations that Radio Times readers said they would most like to visit from programmes broadcast in 2014.

The improvised comedy – the first series of which was set in the rural north of England – used Italy as a backdrop to a series of surreal mealtime conversations between Brydon and Coogan.

Michael Winterbottom directed the quasi-fictional comedy, which featured so many meal scenes that Brydon later said he put on eight pounds during filming. Speaking at a screening, Brydon admitted: “In Ravello we were pissed as farts.”

Northumberland and Durham, the real life setting for Vera, was voted the second most popular scenic backdrop of the year. The ITV detective crime drama, starring Brenda Blethyn, featured some of the North-east’s most picturesque locations, including Blyth, Whitley Bay, Nose’s Point and Rothbury.

Northern Ireland, the primary setting of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones, came third in the poll, down from the top spot last year.

Jade Bremner, Radio Times travel editor, says: “The fact that British locations dominate our top 10 TV settings list this year is testament to the quality of UK dramas, our home-grown production teams and our incredibly diverse, beautiful and dramatic landscapes. But the number one spot is utterly deserved by Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s The Trip, in which they take a romantic grand-tour style romp through magnificent Mediterranean countryside, and sprinkle witty observations throughout.”

The Oresundsbron, the eponymous bridge in 'The Bridge', has revitalised Malmo

BBC1’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn in Cornwall was fourth on the list, with scenes set in Holywell Bay, Newquay, and The Cheesewring and Hurlers on Bodmin Moor. Derbyshire, the setting of Peter Moffat’s The Village came fifth. Starring Maxine Peake and John Simm, the story, which has now had two series, charts the life of an unnamed Peak District village throughout the 20th century.

The remainder of the top 10 cover some of Britain’s greatest landscapes as well as locations from across the world. This year’s Radio Times Travel TV Location Poll, which received 4,650 votes, was dominated by British TV locations, accounting for seven of the top 10 locations, a sharp contrast to the previous year’s poll when only three British locations made the final list. The ITV1 drama Cilla, which immortalised the Liverpool of Cilla Black’s youth, came eighth.

Aside from Italy, the only other foreign locations to make it into the top 10 were Malmo, the location of Swedish drama The Bridge; and Calgary in Canada where the TV remake of Fargo was filmed, because it guaranteed the snow required for the Minnesota-set drama.

Top 10 TV show settings

1. Italy filming location for The Trip

2. Northumberland and  Durham setting for Vera

3. Northern Ireland filming location for Game of Thrones

4. Cornwall setting for  Jamaica Inn

5. Derbyshire setting for  The Village

6. London setting for Sherlock

7. Malmo, Sweden location for The Bridge

8. Liverpool setting for Cilla

9. Calgary, Canada filming location for Fargo

10. Cardiff location for  Doctor Who

(As voted by Radio Times  readers)