Suffolk cashes in as film location

WITH its historic countryside, golden beaches and picture postcard villages it is no surprise that Suffolk attracts a wealth of interest from the silver screen.

Craig Robinson

WITH its historic countryside, golden beaches and picture postcard villages it is no surprise that Suffolk attracts a wealth of interest from the silver screen.

Hollywood blockbusters including Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and Iris, featuring Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet, were filmed in Southwold, while parts of Angelina Jolie's first Tomb Raider film were shot at Elveden Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, and Pierce Brosnan's James Bond came to RAF Mildenhall for Tomorrow Never Dies.

And with classic TV shows such as Dad's Army shot in Thetford and Lovejoy filmed in the villages of Lavenham and Long Melford - the county has a strong heritage when it comes to entertaining the nation.


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Latest figures show that in the last six months big and small screen filming is estimated to have been worth �387,000 to the Suffolk economy, while for the whole of 07/08 it stood at �825,000.

The newest show to be filmed in Suffolk is Grandpa In My Pocket, a comedy drama for four to six year-olds that was shot in Aldeburgh and Southwold for the BBC's CBeebies channel.

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Set in the fictional seaside town of Sunnysands it features a family who has a very special, shrinking grandpa, played by the popular James Bolam.

The makers of the show discovered their locations with the help of regional film agency Screen East, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council and Ipswich Borough Council.

Kerry Ixer, head of locations for Screen East, said: “Suffolk has unique locations already popular for filming.

“To make these more appealing we need to build up the infrastructure across the county by sourcing more locations of all types and conditions, particularly large modern residential properties, apartments in new developments, modern office space, derelict industrial buildings and unusual period properties.

“Registration is free and provides an opportunity for location owners to earn additional income.

“Filming can also provide promotional opportunities for the locations which feature in popular films or television programmes as people often seek out the locations when they visit an area.

“They are also known to go on holiday to a place they see on either the big or small screen so there is a real opportunity to attract more production to Suffolk and help boost tourism, but we can only do this successfully if we have a wide variety of film-friendly locations.”

Lisa Chambers, county council portfolio holder for culture and economic development, added: “The economic boost of filming locally is not to be under estimated, whether it is toddler tourism as a result of well-loved children's programmes or the hidden benefits of film crews and production companies staying in the county.

“Suffolk is an ideal base for filming with its close links to London and facilities. Its other major selling point for TV and film crews is how varied a county it is and the wealth of locations on offer - from coastline to heath and from bustling towns to picturesque villages, Suffolk has it all.”

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