Lights, Camera, Byker.
This week, Newcastle got the red carpet treatment for the movie premiere of I, DANIEL BLAKE. Starring local comedian, Dave Johns, the film was shot in Newcastle and shines a light on the cruel bureaucracy of the benefits system. The film, by renowned director, Ken Loach, won Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in the summer and has gone on to receive almost universal acclaim around the world, with one reviewer calling it ‘an immediate classic’.
And only a few weeks ago, the Monument area of Newcastle was at a standstill while they filmed a car chase sequence for the latest sequel in the Transformers franchise. So, what next? A JAWS remake in South Shields?
We’re lucky to have quite a heritage of films shot in the area. Both PAYROLL (1961) and Roman Polanski’s CUL-DE-SAC (1966) took advantage of Northumberland’s beautiful coastline. ROBIN HOOD, PRINCE OF THIEVES (1991) used Sycamore Gap at Hadrian’s Wall and the first couple of HARRY POTTER films made extensive use of Alnwick Castle. Both GET CARTER (1971) and STORMY MONDAY (1988) used gritty depictions of Newcastle’s city centre to bring their stories to life.
Could we be seeing a resurgence in the use of Newcastle as an in-demand film making destination? We certainly have a rich variety of architecture and landscapes to satisfy the most demanding of location managers. We don’t see why not and, as we often say to prospective clients: someone’s got to do it and why the hell shouldn’t it be us?