If you are a major competitive reality television fan, then you have likely been waiting for The Circle to hit Netflix after becoming obsessed with the British version. The popular UK series has had two seasons (the original The Circle is available on YouTube) and, like Love Island UK, gained a huge following online in the US. Of course, the American version of The Circle will be slightly different considering none of the players will be saying “chuffed,” “bricking in” or “gutted.” But the introduction to the stateside version was made slightly more comfortable for fans by using the same apartment building from the second season of The Circle UK to film the Netflix version. That’s right. Despite the slightly misleading aerial shots of American landmarks that appear during transition sequences, Netflix's The Circle was filmed in England.
The Circle apartment building is located in Salford, a city in Greater Manchester. In the British version, Sophia Willian and Emma Willis, the comedic narrator and host, respectively, reference a few times where the players are living and images are shown of the roundabouts, bridges, and water running through the city. There are also shots of the outside of the apartment, a large, brown building with a gigantic circle in front of it. But, noticeably, American host and narrator Michelle Buteau (First Wives Club, Always Be My Maybe), never says exactly where the show is taking place.
But Netflix’s The Circle, for some strange, slightly comical reason, tries to make the audience think the contestants are in America. There are repeated shots of an American flag and other images of possibly Chicago and Milwaukee. But the outside footage of the apartment makes it obvious that this is the same apartment the British contestants lived in just a few short months ago.
If the exterior wasn’t a clear give away, a closer look at each player’s personal apartment confirms the filming location. For some apartments, like Seaburn’s pink paradise (which I would move into immediately), the design is an exact match to the apartment UK contestant Brooke lived in during the second season. Need more proof? Look at the plugs in the kitchens and bathrooms! They are all outlets you wouldn’t find in the US. Also, without spoiling too much, let’s just say Georgina’s lovable teddy bear from the UK's The Circle pops up later.
It makes sense that America's The Circle would use the same location. Unlike the US version, The Circle UK is filmed in real-time and the most recent season ended on October 18, 2019. With plenty of high-tech, vacant apartments, it was likely more cost efficient to fly the American players out to the UK rather than construct a new building with apartments that include amenities like cameras, microphones, and sound proof walls without a guarantee the show will be successful.
So, unless you are planning on moving to the UK sometimes soon, sorry US fans. You can’t easily visit the The Circle apartment and it’s snazzy rooftop jacuzzi. You’ll just have to live vicariously through the players as you watch them dance around their perfectly design apartments.
You can the first four episodes of The Circle on Netflix now, and the streaming service will release new episodes throughout the first three weeks of January 2020.