Wicked Little Letters: Historic Intrigue, Scandal & Celebrity in West Sussex

In cinemas right now you can see the film Wicked Little Letters (2023) starring one of our greatest actresses, Olivia Coleman (who spends a lot of time with her mouth open in shock), the terrific Timothy Spall and Jessie Buckley.  It’s a comedy set in the 1920s and is based on real events.

When residents of Littlehampton, West Sussex, start receiving profanity-riddled letters a group of women set out to try and discover who is responsible for sending them.  Although billed as a comedy, it includes much social commentary, set during a time of upheaval shortly after the end of World War I amid the backdrop of the fight for women’s suffrage.

I won’t spoil it for you and the film is unlikely to rock your world but I suggest it would make for a pleasant day out to see the film and visit the filming sites and the place where the action happened.  I talk about both because, sadly, the film wasn’t shot in Littlehampton itself because the town has changed beyond all recognition over the last 100 years.  The producers instead found what they needed in the nearby towns of Worthing and Arundel as both towns have retained more historic features.

West Sussex is lucky, really, as the producers were considering filming in Norfolk.  However, that travesty was avoided and businesses with shop fronts in Arundel that were transformed for the film have been making the most of their new-found fame.

It’s hard to imagine the total takeover that happens when a movie is being filmed, but some of the photos emerging on social media give you a clue.

So go watch the film – preferably at an independent, local cinema – then visit Arundel and Worthing and see if you can spot the locations used.  To get you started, be sure to visit Cockburn’s Tea Rooms in Arundel which was transformed into Glimson’s Dairy for filming.



  • Maria Bligh

    Maria Bligh is a journalist, published author, professional speaker, singer and artist now settled in Sussex, UK, having previously travelled extensively throughout the UK and overseas, including a period living in Geneva. Married to a successful musician and with a background that encompasses working in the music industry, finance, sales and presentations training, she maintains a diverse existence. Her interests encompass travel, nature, animals and the arts: music, theatre, painting, writing and philosophy. Maria now writes for online and print magazines. Having once maintained a regular full page in “A Place In The Sun” magazine, travel is an obvious interest, but her articles also cover a wide variety of subjects. She bills herself as “an observer of the human condition and all that sail in her.” Maria has frequently appeared on radio & TV as well as in print. Her humorous style has seen her travel the world addressing audiences throughout Europe, Asia and Australasia and as a cruise-ship speaker with P&O and Fred Olsen.

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