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Why film makers are flocking to Hampshire to make their blockbusters
12:06pm Saturday 12th January 2013 in News
FROM its rolling hills to its bustling cities, people living in Hampshire already know exactly what it has to offer.
But more and more film-makers are descending on the county, bringing its scenes to an international audience.
Last year six films were shot in the county, including Skyfall, World War Z and Les Miserables, bringing £3m into Hampshire’s economy.
With Les Miserables hitting UK cinemas yesterday, eyes of keen filmgoers from all corners of the country will be taking in scenes filmed at locations including Winchester College and Portsmouth Naval Base.
International stars Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway descended on the area, with hundreds of other members of cast and crew, as they stayed in local hotels and ate locally produced food.
The eagerly anticipated Oscar-nominated film transforms picturesque local sites into bustling French towns of the 19th century, and local people into hungry French peasants as the 25-year-old musical hits the big screen.
But the county council expects the benefits to be long lasting as film tourists follow suit.
The region is not just a one-Oscar nominee wonder, as casts and crews shot scenes for Skyfall in Hankley Common on the Hampshire/Surrey border, filming for World War Z, which will hit cinemas this summer took place in Aldershot, and some of All You Need Is Kill was shot in Andover.
Shots of The Great Hall in Winchester will also be seen in independent title The Elder when it is released later this year.
Television-makers have also brought scenes of Hampshire to the country’s TV screens. Presenters Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman and Alex Langlands spent months at Manor Farm in Bursledon to show what life was like for people living in the British countryside during the Second World War on the BBC1 reality show Wartime Farm.
We have also seen The Fixer filmed in Fleet, Inspector Morse spin-off Endeavour in Farnborough, Miss Marple in Nether Wallop and Dom Joly’s Fool Britannia in nearby Basingstoke in 2012. Last year, these productions generated £3m for Hampshire’s economy – an increase of £800,000 on the previous year.
The council are supported in promoting the county to film-makers by Creative England, which works with production companies around the globe to encourage them to film in English regions. They report that Hampshire is becoming a real hotspot for film-makers, attracting huge Hollywood names.
Nick Beech, production liaison coordinator for Creative England, said: “In the past there has been an idea that England means London if you’re coming from somewhere like New York. But people are now starting to realise the potential in the English regions.”
Cllr Ray Ellis, the county council’s executive member for economic development and rural affairs, said: “Among Hampshire’s great attractions are its outstanding historic buildings and stunning landscapes, which are in much demand.
These figures for 2012 underline the important work that Hampshire County Council’s Film Hampshire is doing to strengthen our economy, as not only do production crews bring an immediate boost to hotels and restaurants but films, adverts and TV programmes showcase our beautiful countryside which in turn encourages more tourists to visit and stay.
“The tourism sector plays a vital role in the local economy by generating well over £2 billion every year from visitors to Hampshire and employs more than 60,000 people.”