Website aims to give Calderdale more roles in films and TV programmes

A council has established a website to promote using the borough for film and television productions.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:38 pm

Calderdale Council has launched www.filmcalderdale.co.uk following a string of productions made in the area.

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These include the BBC/HBO produced Gentleman Jack, which stars Suranne Jones as Shibden Hall heiress and lesbian Anne Lister, which has been credited with attracting more tourists to Halifax and Calderdale, including from the U.S, and dubbed “the Gentleman Jack effect”.

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Happy Valley. Picture: BBC

Figures for 2019 – the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the year in which the Sally Wainwright created Gentleman Jack was first screened – showed tourism was worth just under £400 million to Calderdale’s economy, a 14 per cent increase from £349 million in 2018.

Other productions which have used Calderdale settings in recent years include other Sally Wainwright series, Last Tango In Halifax and Happy Valley, the latter finishing filming for its third series this spring.

Another BBC production filmed in Calderdale, based on Calder Valley based author Benjamin Myers novel, is The Gallows Pole, about the 18th century counterfeiters the Cragg Coiners, who carried out their activities above Mytholmroyd, is also set to air this year.

Other major attractions in the borough include its stunning landscape and distinctive architecture including and buildings like Halifax’s Grade I listed Piece Hall, says the council.

Scenes for both Gentleman Jack and Marvel production Secret Invasion, which stars Hollywood legend Samuel L. Jackson have been filmed there over the past year – with the Piece Hall Trust this month describing the Grade I listed building, revitalised with shops and businesses, as having a major role in kickstarting Calderdale’s economy as it recovers from the early pandemic.

All this activity has led to the council establishing the website to show Calderdale is a “film-friendly” borough, working closely with Screen Yorkshire, and includes practical information to make the process as easy as possible for potential producers, says the council’s Deputy Leader Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot).

It shows how the council co-ordinates responses to requests for filming permits, parking, location bases and traffic management.

In return productions help promote the area – increasingly on a worldwide scale.

“Calderdale is increasingly being known as a filming destination, with a variety of major productions being filmed in the borough in recent years.

“This new website is a great place to find out more about utilising the distinctive Calderdale landscape and built environment in future productions.

“Our filming team has seen a huge increase in requests from production companies and location managers.

“The small team always go the extra mile and pull out all the stops to accommodate these requests and work tirelessly to make film, television or commercial photography run as smoothly as possible.

“But don’t just take our word for it, on the site you can find interviews with location managers, directors and actors who will tell you just how fantastic Calderdale is as a filming location,” said Coun Scullion.

Day and overnight trips to Calderdale in 2019 were up by more than a quarter on the previous year with around 8.2 million making their way to the borough and the council noted that about £295.8 million of the money tourists spent in the area directly benefited local businesses, from hotels and restaurants to cafés, shops and attractions.

This 2019 income is estimated to have supported 7,930 jobs, up 14 per cent from 2018, the council’s figures showed.

The new website collates useful information for directors, producers, location managers and location scouts.

It features easy access to resources and filming permit applications and an insight into recent filming.

There is also information about the wide range of outdoor and built locations available in Calderdale, including rural, urban and historic options as well as period streets.

The site also includes information on how Calderdale residents or businesses can offer-up their premises as a potential filming location, providing opportunities for local people and further highlighting the vast and varied options within the borough for filming different types of productions.