SCOTLAND lost out on the chance to play host to TV’s Game of Thrones because of a lack of studio facilities, it has been claimed.
The HBO fantasy spectacular is shot on location across Europe and northern Africa, but production of the series is based in Northern Ireland. Studio scenes are shot at the new Titanic Studios in Belfast, in a move thought to be worth more than £60m to the city.
Sources close to the production told the Herald that the first location that came to mind when adapting the George RR Martin books was Scotland.
They said: “The settings were a natural fit: hills and glens and rugged castles. However, the lack of a studio meant the production logistics, control and cost made no sense to production planners.”
Creative Scotland have since put aside £1 million for a film studio plan, though that figure is dwarfed by the reported £9 million HBO has received from Northern Ireland Screen to shoot the blockbuster series in the province. NI Screen’s Moyra Lock called the show “an incredible shop window for our most spectacular scenery”.
The series has been critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Location filming has taken place in Malta, Croatia, Iceland and Morocco. Some small parts of the series have been shot in Scotland, with scenes filmed at Doune Castle near Stirling.
A Creative Scotland spokeswoman said: “There is no doubt that Scotland would be able to compete at a much higher level with a fully-equipped studio.
“The recently introduced UK tax breaks for high-end television drama signify a significant opportunity for Scotland’s film and television industry.”