Investment pays dividend

Scotland is the star as movie and TV producers spend record on location


Film and television producers spent a record £45.2 million shooting on location in Scotland in 2014.

This was a substantial increase of almost £12 million on the previous year and the government says it demonstrates a growing appetite to use Scotland as a backdrop for their productions.

The Legend of Barney Thomson, directed and featuring Robert Carlyle and the Proclaimers-inspired Sunshine on Leith were among those set in Scotland, as was Under the Skin starring Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson (pictured).

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the figures ahead of a set visit to Bannan, the first Gaelic drama series to be commissioned for BBC ALBA and currently filming in Skye.

She said: “These productions generate significant income for Scotland through the use of Scottish talent, crews, locations, transport, accommodation and through the impact they have on tourism.

“The Scottish Government and our agencies are firmly committed to growing the economic impact of our screen sector and continuing to promote Scotland as a premier and competitive location to produce great films and TV shows.”

She said this was underlined by the £162 million public funding awarded to the sector since 2007/08, during a period of tough budgets.

“But we recognise we need to do more. That is why this week I announced a new £1.75m production growth fund to provide an additional incentive for major international productions to come to Scotland, as well as increasing funding available for Scottish productions.

“This builds on the £2m Tax Credit Advance Facility I announced earlier this year and the £1m Screen Skills Fund through which we are supporting training and skills development opportunities.”

Bannan (pictured) has reached a bigger audience than any other programme on BBC ALBA since it launched in 2011 and allocates around a fifth of its production costs to training and professional development opportunities for young people.

“Our continuing support for Bannan underlines the Scottish Government’s firm commitment to increasing indigenous language programming, which we have made clear to the UK Government we expect to see more of through the BBC Charter renewal process,” said Ms Hyslop.

Natalie Usher, director, Screen, Creative Scotland, said: “The figures announced today demonstrate that Scotland’s screen sector already has the talent, crews, facilities and award winning locations to attract major productions.

“Alongside our partners in Government, we are firmly committed to supporting screen sector growth and promoting Scotland as a film-friendly nation with unique landscapes and competitive incentives.”

Chris Young, producer of Bannan and managing director of Young Films said: “We are now filming the last few episodes of the 18-episode Bannan cycle, and it’s amazing to think that we only started filming the pilot two years ago. That’s nine hours of TV drama produced in Scotland in two years, which is something I’m very proud of. The support we have received from both Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government has made a huge difference in making this happen.

“In the process of filming Bannan, we have managed to train a whole new home-grown team of new writers, directors, producers, actors and technicians in long-running TV drama.

“I believe Bannan provides a very good model for how we can significantly expand indigenous film and television production and training in Scotland.”

Scottish Production Spend figures by year since 2007:

2007 – £23m

2008 – £28m

2009 – £24m

2010 – £21.5m

2011 – £29.3m

2012 – £27m

2013 – £33.6m

2014 – £45.2m

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