How Shropshire's rural businesses could attract income as TV and film locations
Rural businesses and country estates in Shropshire are in prime position to unlock a growing revenue stream and put themselves forward as alternative filming locations, a property advisor has said.
In the wake of the pandemic, in which movement restrictions and social distancing measures prevented TV and film studios from shooting in more confined spaces, those in countryside locations can provide opportunities to the television and film industry, according to Savills.
Rob Paul, director in the estate management team at Savills in Telford, said: “As everyone will be aware, the logistics of coordinating hundreds of people working in close proximity on a range of timescales and locations meant that productions were simply postponed or cancelled in a lot of cases during the pandemic.
“However, what came from that was an incentive for filming to be taken to larger spaces and, for owners of rural property, there is perhaps more opportunity than ever to be part of the television and film industry.
"It has created an opportunity for many landowners and rural businesses across the county to diversify.”
Shropshire is no stranger to the silver screen. Highley Station on the Severn Valley Railway was used to film some of the train scenes in the 2005 film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, while Stokesay Castle appeared in Atonement (2007).
The BBC drama Time, starring Sean Bean, was filmed as recently as 2021 at Shrewsbury Prison, now a tourist attraction, and Benthall Hall was used as the exterior of the Holmes estate in Enola Holmes on Netflix (2020).
Mr Paul added: “Rural estates and private country homes can provide the additional space and accommodation that has become a necessity for productions and has led to locations being sought further afield, including Shropshire, which may well be advantageous to rural property owners and provide an opportunity for an interesting new revenue stream.
“The key is to be proactive. Take good photographs including fields, out buildings and accommodation that showcases the range of your property.
"Check that there are no reasons why you cannot legally hire out the site and decide what you will accept as a fee, including the cost of disturbance to the daily operations. It is also worth getting in touch with agencies who will actively promote your property around the industry.”
Guidance, including the latest protocols, is available from APA (commercials), the British Film Commission, PACT and Film London.