Screen Suffolk on track to bring cameras to the county’s railway lines

PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:18 05 June 2019

Could the Middy feature in forthcoming film productions?  Picture: LAWRIE ROSE

Could the Middy feature in forthcoming film productions? Picture: LAWRIE ROSE

Lawrie Rose

Screen Suffolk has joined up with Greater Anglia and the Mid Suffolk Light Railway to try to attract film-makers to use the county’s trains as backdrops to new films or television programmes.

The BBC progamme Bodyguard was filmed at Dereham on the Mid Norfolk Railway . Picture: ArchantThe BBC progamme Bodyguard was filmed at Dereham on the Mid Norfolk Railway . Picture: Archant

Railways are often used as locations for films or television programmes, both dramas and documentaries, and Rachel Aldridge from Screen Suffolk said the county's lines could be offered to film-makers.

The national rail network can be challenging for drama film-makers because filming has to be completed around normal services - and these cannot be re-arranged for the convenience of directors.

But stations or railway locations can be used for some shots - and they can be very popular for documentary programmes like Michael Portillo's popular "Great Railway Journeys" series.

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Preserved and private railways are often used for a wide variety of filming. The opening shots of the BBC series Bodyguard with Richard Madden were filmed at the Mid Norfolk Railway at Dereham, and two James Bond films - Octopussy and Goldeneye - were filmed at the Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough.

Ms Aldridge said: "We have met with Greater Anglia who are now on board. We are acting as to put potential film-makers in touch with the right people at the company.

"We are due to have a meeting with the people at the Middy to see how we can help them get more filming - that could be good for them."

John Reeve from the Middy said it had already been used to film one drama - and its volunteers had experience of providing people in period costume because of events like "Middy in the War Years" that are part of its annual calendar.

He said: "We would not be any use for anyone wanting a British Rail-style train like in Bodyguard, but for someone making a rural drama set anywhere between the Edwardian era and the Second World War we could be ideal."

A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said they had an outside consultant who worked with Screen Suffolk on requests to film on trains and rail property - but the opportunities were limited because they would have to fit in around rail timetables and other rail operations. However some limited filming was sometimes possible on the company's trains.

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