Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell hit for Yorkshire

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell hit for Yorkshire

The reviews for the BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell have been positive after the second episode of the new drama series aired last Sunday.

The programme, based on the first novel by British writer Susanna Clarke, is set in nineteenth century Yorkshire. During the early stages of the development process, Creative England was contacted by production company Cuba Pictures. The not-for-profit organisation provided the company’s production with extensive support on both regional filming locations and local crew, with Screen Yorkshire providing regional funding.

For 2014/15, Creative England estimates that £8.8m was invested in Yorkshire from all film and television production filming on location in the region. The Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell shoot was preceded by various TV series such as Last Tango in Halifax, Death Comes to Pemberley and Kay Mellor’s The Syndicate.

A production on the scale of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is estimated to spend around £18,000 per day in the region. Not just on equipment rental, extras and location fees but also on services such as hotels, catering and security.

Chris Hordley, Creative England’s production liaison manager for Yorkshire, said: “We worked closely with the production from the beginning – providing information on regional studios, scouting a number of Georgian and medieval locations, and hosting a two-day familiarisation recce to showcase key locations across York, Wakefield and Leeds.

“It’s always fantastic to see our regions showcased on the screen and Yorkshire is an incredibly beautiful, flexible and accommodating location for filming.” 

Creative England is part of the group of British organisations which through its Film Friendly Partnership aims to work with both the public and private sector in 290 local authorities across the country to facilitate the smooth and easy running of productions looking to shoot in the regions. 

For Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, filming permissions were facilitated via the team’s relationships with partners such as the City of York Council, Leeds City Council, Bradford City of Film, Kirklees Council and Wakefield Council. All of whom assisted the production process with location finding and providing access to services within their local authorities. Here you can think of services such as parking permits, street lighting and securing road closures where necessary. 

Nicky Ball, crew manager at Creative England, said: “Our crewing service was heavily used for the shoot, posting out jobs for everything from Production Coordinator and Production Buyer to Runner and Location Assistant positions.” 

All work to increase the film friendliness of filming in the regions and nations sees to it that more and more of the larger productions find it increasingly easier and more attractive to film there, where it’s best for their script, and don’t just flock automatically to the big cities such as London and Manchester. The geographical spread in turn ensures more local employment opportunities and a more diverse and realistic offer for the viewing audience.

To demonstrate their worth, Creative England’s involvement, Ball says, “ensured at least 790 days of work for local crew based in Yorkshire”.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell airs every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One. More information about the production can be found on Production In

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