Bid to boost city economy by luring TV and movie crews to Plymouth


Plymouth City Council is working with Creative England on a bid to make Britain’s Ocean City also one of its cinematic capitals.

A campaign has been started to attract film crews to the city, highlighting its array of stunning locations as the perfect backdrop for lights, camera, action.

Film Plymouth, part of the iMayflower programme, is a project funded by the Cultural Development Fund (CDF) to drive economic development within Plymouth.

Creative England is leading a production services programme with Plymouth City Council to facilitate “film-friendly activity”, maximise “location exposure” to movie industry moguls and encourage feature film and “high-end” TV drama to the area.

It could mean Plymouth joining the ranks of Oxford, famous for being a Harry Potter movie set, and Northern Ireland, where Game of Thrones has been shot, as the UK’s answer to the Hollywood dream factory.

Amanda Lee, marketing manager within the economic development team at Plymouth City Council, is leading on the development of Film Plymouth and said: “Plymouth has such a wealth of locations and facilities on offer to filmmakers, from historic cobbled streets to wide open boulevards and the open waters of Plymouth Sound to the brutalist architecture of the post-war city centre.

“We’re delighted to be working with Creative England to provide support services to filmmakers wanting to capture content in our vibrant waterfront city.

“From facilitating location support and permissions, to providing links to supply chain businesses, we’re here and ready to respond to inquiries to encourage more activity like this in the city. We work closely with many partners across the city to enable a quick and smooth process for filmmakers.”

Film Plymouth can also provide support with production inquiries from cast and crewing to facilitate filming on highways, land and properties managed by Plymouth City Council.

The city is home to a range of filming locations from period architectural buildings, harbourside areas, waterfronts and historic ports, offering a variety of unique locations for the industry.

For example, Royal William Yard is an award-winning waterside destination and has already starred in several TV shows and movies. The ex-Naval victualling yard is spread over 16 acres and houses the largest collection of Grade I listed military buildings in Europe.

Set on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water, this is a place where Georgian buildings and award-winning architecture meet, and where landscaped lawns and gardens overlook the coastline.

Hailey Cattle, regional marketing manager at Urban Splash, which has been developing the yard, said: “Royal William Yard has featured as a magnificent backdrop to many productions over the years thanks to its iconic architecture and unrivalled location.

“These include period dramas such as Hornblower and Churchill: The Hollywood Years, to TV series such as Delicious for Sky 1, and location shoots for factual programming including Antiques Roadshow and the forthcoming revival of Watercolour Challenge.

“As a private development, we have the flexibility to facilitate filming, and work closely with those involved to meet their needs.

“Whether it’s capturing the splendour of these sensitively restored grand buildings, or having access to our marina and stunning waterfront, Royal William Yard is a breathtakingly unique location that is every bit as captivating when seen on screen.”

Another area being touted as a perfect movie location is Smeaton’s Tower, which is managed by The Box in Plymouth, a major new museum and art gallery in the city.

The former lighthouse has become one of the South West’s most famous landmarks taking centre stage on Plymouth’s Hoe. The tower has been restored to its former glory and the coastal scenery of the Plymouth Sound can be viewed from the lantern room.

Creative England is the national screen agency with a remit to maximise and support the production of feature film and high-end television in England, outside London.

The Filming in England team works closely with local authorities and Film Office partners to deliver a comprehensive film-friendly service to the industry.

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