Liverpool becomes Merseywood as hundreds of films, TV shows and adverts bring £19m to city
Filming in Liverpool is at an all time high, raking in an estimated £19m for the city’s economy during the last 12 months alone.
A total of 227 films, TV programmes and adverts were shot here during 2011/12.
And Liverpool Film Office, whose job it is to attract film-makers to the city, today revealed there is already a 40% increase in the first quarter of this year compared to 2011.
Films and TV shows shot in Liverpool down the years.
The city has also benefited indirectly from the London Olympics, with productions which were due to shoot in the Capital relocating from the Thames to the Mersey.
Liverpool Film Office manager Lyn Saunders says: “Over recent years there’s been a shift in the attitudes of producers and directors in terms of Liverpool, and now there’s the real sense film executives are confident 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 London and we’ve reaped the benefits of this, with many companies approaching us as an alternative location.
“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.”
The Echo revealed last week that the Sir Kenneth Branagh-helmed Jack Ryan movie, starring Keira Knightley, Chris Pine and Kevin Costner, is set to spend several days shooting in the city centre this month.
The project, with a cast and crew of around 500, is one of two Hollywood blockbusters set to film in Liverpool this autumn, alongside what is being billed at the moment simply as a “leading BBC drama with an outstanding cast”.
Meanwhile one of the highlights of the BBC’s autumn schedule, primetime drama Good Cop, which was shot on location in the city, Wirral and on Crosby beach, saw its first episode screened last Thursday.
The show was penned by Liverpool screenwriter Stephen Butchard and stars Liverpool’s Steven Graham, Mark Womack, Michael Angelis, Kerrie Hayes and Kevin Harvey alongside Warrington-born former Hollyoaker Warren Brown in the lead role.
Producer Rebecca Hodgson says: “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 I 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 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’re running all over Liverpool. I don't want to recommend it too highly or everyone else will start filming there!”
Channel 4 meanwhile has been in the city since April shooting Utopia, which stars James Fox, Geraldine James, Simon McBurney and The Thick of It’s Paul Higgins.
The flagship conspiracy thriller is set in London but is being filmed in its entirety in Liverpool over six months.
Utopia producer Bekki Wray-Rogers echoed the Good Cop team: “Liverpool is an incredible city to film in. We’ve 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.
“And 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’re able to help us navigate the regulations and oil the wheels that often make filming so difficult. We’ll definitely be coming back.”
Homegrown TV shows such as LA Productions’ Moving On, popular series like Location, Location, Location and Come Dine With Me, Saturday night ratings winner the X Factor, and adverts like Walkers Crisps also helped to boost the number of filming days from 733 in 2010/11 to a record 894 in 2011/12.
The city’s cabinet member for culture and tourism Wendy Simon adds: “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.”
What was filmed in Liverpool?
Good Cop: four-part police drama
Young Dracula: a CBBC production filmed at the disused Margaret Beavan school in West Derby, and Croxteth Hall for external shots.
House of Anubis: Follows a group of teenagers living together in a boarding house during secondary school. Filmed for Nickelodeon by Liverpool’s Lime Pictures with 116 days filming in the city.
Blood: A £5m feature starring Paul Bettany and Brian Cox which used Albert Dock as a location
The Secret of Crickley Hall: BBC drama of James Herbert’s chilling tale to be aired later this year which used Falkner Street and Blackburne House as its main locations
Moving On: The second series of the six-part drama filmed by LA Production. The third series starts production this month.
Blackout: TV drama starring Christopher Eccleston and Dervla Kirwan.
Stepping Up: Five stand-alone dramas for CBBC, filmed by LA Productions and themed around the new challenges children face when moving into a new and sometimes overwhelming environment.
Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Special; Location, Location, Location; Come Dine With Me; Don’t tell the Bride; Casualty; Walkers crisps advert; Sainsbury’s Christmas advert; X Factor; Hillsborough documentary; Desperate Scousewives; Flog It!; Gok’s Clothes RoadShow