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Norfolk launches bid to become top film location

PUBLISHED: 17:04 29 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 29 July 2020

Filming of David Copperfield taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Filming of David Copperfield taking place at The Purfleet in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Norfolk is looking to market itself to Hollywood with the hope of cashing in on its scenery for use as film locations.

The famous scene from movie Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Paltrow on Holkham beach. Pic: ArchantThe famous scene from movie Shakespeare in Love starring Gwyneth Paltrow on Holkham beach. Pic: Archant

The Norfolk County Council has secured £52,000 to undertake a study establishing how much the industry could be worth to the region.

The feasibility study for Norfolk Film Assets will aim to “increase stakeholder’s understanding of income generation opportunities for local authorities from film, television or stills shooting days in Norfolk”.

It will also establish “the value that filming currently brings to the wider economy” and “give stakeholder’s options for the creation of a Norfolk Film Office which will encourage Norfolk as an ‘easy to film in’ location”.

The plan hopes to promote Norfolk as a filming location to the national and international broadcast and cinematic market.

Film crews at Elveden Hall shooting Tomb Raider in 2000.  PICTURE ANDY ABBOTTFilm crews at Elveden Hall shooting Tomb Raider in 2000. PICTURE ANDY ABBOTT

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A spokesman for the county council said: “The project will provide the evidence base to allow further targeted activity to support the film sector. It will also allow us to consider ways to potentially provide a small, ongoing income for local authorities by marketing assets to the film sector.”

The project will be managed by the county council as well as the district councils and the New Anglia LEP.

The news was revealed as part of the Norfolk Intelligence Report which was published this week.

The report spans economic activity in the county from January to June – highlighting the efforts of the council and its partners to battle the coronavirus.

This included the creation of three teams to organise the production of PPE such as face masks and hand sanitiser.

Staff were also redeployed from the council office to district councils to help support the Customer Contact Centre.

Some staff also came in on Saturday and Sunday to provide additional cover.

The report adds: “Colleagues were also involved in ensuring that essential supplies were delivered to our most vulnerable residents throughout the shielding period. This included sourcing a donation of 2,600 boxes and parcel tape from ABC, a local packaging company for the first food deliveries. Norfolk Libraries also allowed us to re-purpose boxes from books to food.”

Which films have been shot in the East of England?

• The Personal History of David Copperfield

Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton and Hugh Laurie were among many names who travelled to Norfolk to shoot the Personal History of David Copperfield which was released in January.

King’s Lynn was the setting – strangely – for Great Yarmouth harbour.

• Stardust

Claire Danes is a shining star who has crashed down to earth and is being hunted by evil witch Michelle Pfeiffer.

Norwich doubles as a sort-of-medieval market town beyond ‘the wall’.

• Shakespeare in Love

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Viola has been shipwrecked on a foreign shore and as she reads the film’s epilogue over the final images, we see her character walking across the vast expanse of Holkham’s sandy beach.

You may also want to watch:

• Revolution

Al Pacino arrived in Kings Lynn for this American War of Independence movie by Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson.

The film co-starred Donald Sutherland, Nastassja Kinski along with Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox.

• Lara Croft

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft is visited at her home by the ‘bad guys’. This home is in fact Elveden Hall in Thetford.

The character defends her home by bouncing around on bungee wires.

Expert opinion: Is there potential for Norfolk to capitalise?

Crispin Buxton, studio director for the Norfolk Film Company based at West Raynham Business Park, said the news is “very welcome”.

“Norfolk has a great opportunity to capitalise upon a remarkable and significant growth in film and television production over the past two years,” he said. “Production of Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir was based at Raynham Hangar Studios, similarly Danny Boyle’s Yesterday was based in Gorleston for three months. Both productions brought substantial income and employment opportunities to the region.

“Though all these productions decisions to film in Norfolk were necessarily story and location driven, our stunning coastline and beaches, huge open skies and varied urban environments speak for themselves. The region’s district councils have consistently proved themselves to be the most pro-actively supportive in country. A very important consideration for location managers and producers.

“In a post Covid-19 landscape Norfolk solves many of the challenges of producers will face in filming with social distancing and the need to isolate and secure locations for filming.”


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