Is that Cape Town in the Miley Cyrus Black Mirror episode? Yes, yes it is

12 June 2019 - 07:00 By Dan Meyer
Miley Cyrus in season 5 of Netflix's Black Mirror. The episode featuring the pop star was shot in Cape Town.
Miley Cyrus in season 5 of Netflix's Black Mirror. The episode featuring the pop star was shot in Cape Town.
Image: Supplied

Miley Cyrus was not the only thing familiar about the new season of Netflix's Black Mirror - with Cape Town making an appearance.

Some of the city's distinctive landscapes cropped up in Cyrus’ much anticipated performance in the show's hit fifth season, which was released last week.

The episode, titled Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too, featured scenes shot in Constantia, Stellenbosch University’s Tygerberg campus, Observatory and the Cape Town CBD.

The show has filmed several episodes in Cape Town, including the award-winning San Junipero episode, which won two prime-time Emmys.

Cyrus' sister, Brandi, posted pics of the siblings in Cape Town - on Lions Head and in Bo-Kaap - on her Instagram page.

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sister sister 🐯

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Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too portrays Cyrus as something of an exaggerated version of herself; a pop icon manipulated by record label executives. It delves into the series’ signature themes of technology’s potentially dangerous effect on society.

Cyrus was in South Africa in November last year to film the episode.

The Western Cape government said on its website that the film sector still carried enormous potential for provincial growth.

"The film and media sector in the Western Cape has been identified as one of the main industries that have the potential to contribute to economic growth," the government said.

"The sector has grown rapidly over the past few years and has flourished into a vibrant, dynamic and internationally competitive industry."

Many of the scenes were shot on a sprawling Constantia estate that was filmed to resemble a Malibu house in California. Show creator Charlie Brooker has previously revealed that because filming on location in the US is too expensive, Cape Town offers a great alternative. 

"We've never filmed in America. Every time we've had a location that looks like it's in America, it's either been South Africa, Canada or Spain," he said. "It's too expensive for us to film in America."

The Constantia mansion is worth R115m according to BossHunter and has panoramic views of the Cape.

"The estate consists of a main house and pavilion known as 'The Midden' and stands at over 20,000 square feet with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms," the website reports.

"There's a second property adjoining, known as 'The Cottage' which is over 12,000 square feet, four bedrooms, four bathrooms and equally stunning views."

Many South Africans took to Twitter when they recognised their home country.

Cyrus' own Malibu home was burnt down in the California wildfires last year and she told Inquisitor that the experience of shooting the episode was bittersweet.

"There's a lot of dimension to it, and actually it was while the devastation of Malibu was happening, and it was a really weird learning experience for me because I was so far from home and the show is already really dark, and it's already kind of eerie when you're there the whole time," she added.

Cape Town has been a popular location for international production companies for some time, owing mostly to the fact that the weaker rand/dollar exchange provides an attractive alternative to shooting in the US. 

Other shows and films shot in Cape Town include Maze Runner 3, Safehouse, Black Sails and Tomb Raider.