Surge in film shoots pumps £5m into city coffers

A SURGE of on-location filming in the Capital has seen nearly £5 million injected into the city purse in the past year.

A film crew sets up in Junction Place in Leith. Picture: TSPL
A film crew sets up in Junction Place in Leith. Picture: TSPL

Despite a dearth of feature-length films being shot in Edinburgh, the city has been a magnet for a string of television series and one-off programmes.

Industry body Film Edinburgh also recorded a healthy rise in the number of film inquiries in and around the Capital last year.

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The city hosted 361 filming projects in total, providing a £4.6m boost to the local economy – more than double the 2013 figure.

Highlights included BBC thriller Murder, which was filmed in Edinburgh over a four-month period and international hit Outlander, which involved 19 days of filming in and around the city last year.

Other productions ranged from children’s show Teacup Travels to factual magazine programme Landward and reality TV hit Come Dine With Me.

The latest statistics have been hailed by culture chiefs and fuelled hopes that plans for a £140m film studio in Straiton may bring further success.

Film Edinburgh said 2014 was one of the “top three” years in the last two decades, due to the economic impact and flood of inquiries.

The number of production inquiries jumped by eight per cent to 542, and there were a total of 1076 filming days in the city; 70 more than 2013.

An updated Edinburgh Film Charter – which has been simplified to make sure film inquiries are dealt with efficiently – is also believed to have encouraged more productions to be based in the Capital.

Rosie Ellison, manager of Film Edinburgh, said she was delighted the message that Edinburgh is a “film-friendly” city was being heard.

And she said the team was hopeful that plans for the huge studio complex on the outskirts of Edinburgh would be approved after the conclusion of a planning consultation.

Ms Ellison added: “It would have a dramatic effect on the amount of productions that it’s possible for us to win. We’ve had a lot of feature film and TV drama inquiries, but they haven’t been able to come because we don’t have the facilities.”

She said the revelation that Game of Thrones producers had opted to film in Ireland because Scotland lacked the necessary infrastructure was a key example of why the studio essential.

Edinburgh was also beamed across the world during extensive coverage of the September independence referendum.

And Film Edinburgh and VisitScotland’s creation of two “movie maps” – pinpointing the locations of iconic films in Edinburgh and East Lothian, such as Trainspotting – has also helped raise the area’s profile.

Economy leader Councillor Frank Ross said: “Visit Britain has calculated 40 per cent of visitors to the UK come here to visit locations they have seen on screen. The more we can do to showcase our stunning city on film and bring new visitors the better. This report also shows the importance of securing the film studio in Midlothian for the benefit of the city region and Scotland.”