Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Heughan and Bake Off winner Peter Sawkins help create £2.4m for Edinburgh's economy

Hollywood actress Vanessa Hudgens, Outlander favourite Sam Heughan and Great British Bake Off winner Peter Sawkins helped generate £2.4 million for Edinburgh’s economy last year.

They helped maintain the value of city’s multi-million pound film and TV sector in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted filming for several months last year.

The trio were all involved in major productions which visited the city throughout 2020.

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Hudgens was in the city at the beginning and end of the year for filming of two films in the Princess Switch franchise, which Netflix have made in and around Edinburgh

Sam Heughan and his Outlander co-star Graham McTavish visited to film sequences for their new roadtrip TV series Men In Kilts for US network Starz.

The Great British Bake-Off came to Edinburgh to film scenes with Sawkins, a baker and student in the city, who became the youngest ever winner of the show in November.

Also filming in the city last year were American stars Brook Shields and Cary Elwes, who were making Netflix movie A Castle For Christmas.

An official report for the city council by the Film Edinburgh commission revealed that despite a UK-wide ban on filming between March and July, it still managed to attract 180 different productions.

Netflix star Vanessa Hudgens has helped boost Edinburgh's economy in the last year. Picture: Jamie McCarthy
Netflix star Vanessa Hudgens has helped boost Edinburgh's economy in the last year. Picture: Jamie McCarthy

They provided work for 340 local crew members, an increase of 32 per cent on the previous year, when the number of productions were nearly 50 per cent higher.

Other series filmed in and around Edinburgh last year including rapper, author and commentator Darren McGarvey’s new documentary series on social class, Scotland’s Home of the Year, Susan Calman’s Secret Scotland, The Grand Tour, Location Location Location, Gregg Wallace’s Long Weekend and Landward.

The figures also included BBC Scotland documentary on the Alex Salmond trial at the High Court, a documentary exploring the debate over a controversial monument honouring the 18th century politicians Henry Dundas and its links with the slave trade, and a Lewis Capaldi live streaming event.

Film Edinburgh manager Rosie Ellison said: “It’s a positive reflection of our adaptability that 180 productions filmed here in 2020, many of which were operating under strict Covid restrictions.

Men In Kilts stars Outlander actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish.

“Early in the summer, we introduced a Covid annexe to our code of practice, aligned to Scottish Government-approved industry guidelines.

“This laid out the measures that film and TV companies are to follow while filming in Edinburgh and the wider region, emphasising public safety, space for people to exercise, and recognising that many residents are working from home.

“It’s a credit to the sector that it’s been able to respond to these measures and benefit from the continued support of the council and community under what has been a very difficult situation for everyone.

“Now that the first few big film & TV productions have successfully left the gates following the Covid guidelines, including regular testing of crew, working in close cohorts and having clearly designated working areas away from the public, 2021 is looking to be a very busy year indeed.

Peter Sawkins, the youngest ever winner of the Great British Bake Off, has backed a campaign to persuade shoppers to explore Scotland’s vast natural larder.

We have an exciting Amazon TV production based in the Leith studio plus a number of dramas filming on location in Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, in addition to buoyant factual TV and commercials sectors, all of which contribute to the local economy and therefore towards the recovery agenda."

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Vanessa Hudgens was in Edinburgh to make two Princess Switch films last year.
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