Liverpool is taking a starring role on silver and small screens across the world as filming in the city is at an all time high.
A new report shows that 2011/2012 filming levels were up an impressive 22 per cent on the previous year with 894 filming days taking place in Liverpool, compared to 733 in 2010/2011. A massive 227 films, programmes and adverts were filmed – bringing in £19 million to the local economy.
And early indications show that already there is a whopping 40 per cent increase in the first quarter of this year compared to last.
Productions include Good Cop, a primetime BBC drama starring Liverpool’s very own Stephen Graham and Mark Womack. Liverpool’s Film Office (LFO) worked with the production company to secure perfect filming locations right across the city, the Wirral and on Crosby Beach in Sefton.
Good Cop producer Rebecca Hodgson said: “We had a brilliant time filming in Liverpool. It was a journey of discovery. The director was from London, the production designer was from Glasgow while me and the director of photography live in Manchester.
“We started exploring the city on foot and around every corner we found something new to excite us – the bombed out church, the Georgian squares, the 60s and 70s office blocks, the Manhattan-style skyline from the Wirral.
“We gradually fell in love with the city and that gradual exploration is mirrored by the four episodes. We start by glimpsing the city in episode one and by episode four the action starts at the Anglican cathedral and we are running all over Liverpool. I don’t want to recommend it too highly – or everyone else will start filming there!”
Currently being filmed in the city is Utopia, a flagship Channel 4 thriller which arrived in the city in April and will film until October. It will be set in London, but every single shot will take place in Liverpool. The cult conspiracy theory drama will star Paul Higgins of In the Loop fame, James Fox who has starred in Sherlock Holmes and Geraldine James who was in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Utopia Producer Bekki Wray-Rogers, said: “Liverpool is an incredible city to film in. The locations are stunning. We have found nearly 100 different locations all of which look amazing. The architecture within the city, the dock areas and the surrounding countryside have combined to give us an incredible backdrop for our series. No other city in the UK could have provided us with such a palette to work with.
“Liverpool is served well by its Film Office. Unique within the UK as part of the city council not only do they understand filming but also the intricacies of the needs of the city. From this position they are able to help us navigate the regulations and oil the wheels that often make filming so difficult. We will definitely be coming back”
And with two Hollywood blockbusters and a leading BBC2 drama with an outstanding cast set to be filmed in the next few months, it’s clear that Liverpool is one of the most filmed cities outside of London.
Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for culture and tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The increase in the number of productions taking place reflects the city’s growing reputation and popularity with the film and TV industry.
“The calibre of productions being filmed here is at an all time high, and companies appear to be spending much more time in the city, making the most of the iconic and diverse locations we have to offer.
“Real credit has to be given to the small team which make up the city’s LFO unit – their unrivalled knowledge of the city and willingness to go above and beyond has resulted in fantastic relationships being developed between the city council and the filming industry.
“This latest report shows that again this year, filming levels are up, and I’m sure this will continue throughout 2012 and 2013.”
The LFO’s role is to attract film and television business to the city and its surrounding areas, by providing a location finding and film liaison service. It is estimated that over the past 10 years the office has attracted an estimated £100million of inward investment into the local economy, by supporting jobs through productions using local labour and also spending money in the city’s hotels, bars and restaurants.
It is the most established independent service in the UK and in the past year has branched out into new areas such as managing the hugely successful global media launch of Jaguar Land Rover’s Evoque which brought more than 1200 journalists to the city.
Manager of the LFO, Lynn Saunders, said: “Over recent years there has been a real shift in the attitudes of producers and directors in terms of Liverpool, and now there is the real sense that film executives are confident that they can get what they need when we film in the city.
“This year we can also put some of the demand down to the Olympics – filming is limited in the capital and we’ve reaped the benefits of this, with many companies approaching us as an alternative location to London.
“It’s a really exciting, and busy, time for the team and it’s fantastic to be able to showcase Liverpool and make sure it’s a real favourite with filmmakers across the world.”
Some of the filming which took place from 2011/2012 included:
Young Dracula – a CBBC production filmed at the disused Margaret Beavan school in West Derby, and also uses Croxteth Hall for its external shots
House of Anubis – filmed for Nickelodeon by Liverpool based Lime Pictures and spent 116 days filming in the city
Blood – a £5million feature starring Paul Bettany and Brian Cox and used he Albert Dock as a location
The Secret of Crickley Hall – BBC drama to be aired later this year which used Falkner Street and Blackburne House as their main locations
Moving On – a six part drama filmed by Liverpool based LA Production filmed its second series to great success. The third series starts production this month.
Stepping Up – Filmed by LA Productions these five stand-alone dramas for CBBC are themed around the new challenges children face when moving into a new and sometimes overwhelming environment.
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Special
Location, Location, Location
Don’t tell the Bride
Walkers crisps advert
Come Dine With Me