THE Danish director who masterminded hit crime show The Killing has spent four months in Scotland secretly filming his first British drama series.
Locations across Edinburgh and the Lothians have been deployed for Birger Larsen’s three-part series Murder, due to be aired on BBC2 later this year.
However, the BBC has remained tight-lipped about the production since it was commissioned almost two years ago.
There was no publicity over the filming of the programme, which was carried out between September and December last year, with locations used still under wraps. The drama series was given the green light after the huge success of a pilot episode, which Larsen agreed to take on after describing the script as the best he had seen since working on The Killing.
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Set in Nottingham, but filmed entirely in Edinburgh three years ago, the 60-minute pilot show went on to win a BAFTA for best single drama, as well as a Scottish BAFTA for best television drama.
The series will follow the format of the pilot episode, using first-person addresses to the camera from key protagonists – intercut with CCTV footage, flashback scenes and forensic evidence – to tell the story of a major crime.
Writer Robert Jones together with producer Kath Mattock spent months in the public galleries of the Old Bailey in London as part of their research. At the time the original show was announced, Larsen said of its unusual personal testimony style: “I was attracted to the fact that it’s written in such a way that the actors talk direct to camera. It feels original and intimate. You’re drawn into their world – you see it through their eyes.”
Murder’s low-key production shoot in the second half of last year helped ensure 2014 was one of the busiest ever years for film and TV productions in and around the capital, with US sci-fi fantasy series Outlander spending 19 days filming in Edinburgh and Lothians last year.
Rosie Ellison, manager of Film Edinburgh, said: “The BBC haven’t announced when Murder will be shown yet, but we do expect it to be on air this year.
“It was filmed entirely in this area over four months at the end of last year, which is quite a long time, but the same as other series like Case Histories, which filmed here in 2012.
“Last year was one of the three busiest we’ve had over the last 20 years, with 2012 the busiest. That was the year we had Filth, Sunshine on Leith and The Railway Man all filming in the course of the one year.”
Murder is one of several new drama series shot in Scotland due to air this year. Others include the adaptation of Iain Banks novel Stonemouth, which was shot on location in Aberdeenshire, new Gaelic drama Bannan, which is being made on the Isle of Skye and One of Us, a four-part crime drama by the writers of recent James Nesbit hit The Missing, to be filmed in Edinburgh and the Highlands later this year.
A spokeswoman for BBC Scotland said: “Drama is a hugely important part of BBC Scotland’s output. Our ongoing strategy is to back film and TV projects, along with others, wherever we can to ensure both high quality output for our audiences and also support for the Scottish creative sector.”