After the success of Soul Boy, the movie that was filmed almost entirely in Stoke-on-Trent you would hope that Stoke-on-Trent City Council would embrace the idea of Location Stoke-on-Trent and try to promote the city to production companies as the ideal location for their productions.
Stoke-on-Trent has quite a history as a filming location, it is not as massive as other cities such as Manchester or Birmingham but from Dr Who to Soul Boy there have been a number of films that have used the city as a location in the past.
The Crown Hotel (Crown & Anchor) in Longton had a starring role in the 1957 film The Smallest Show On Earth, with the railway & Longton bridge (which still has the same coat of paint on it no doubt) featuring heavily in the film alongside Peter Sellers, Virginia McKenna, Sid James and more.
In June 2010 a production company working for the BBC on the show Waterloo Road, approached, amongst others, Stoke-on-Trent City Council to see if there were any suitable locations for them to use for filming series 7 of the popular TV drama starting in January 2011.
A High School in a suburban and green environment with full access required to all areas of the school
A rolling yearly lease for up to 4 years
£600 a week while the production company are on site & £500 a week when they are not.
The production company also asked for additional parking to be made available if they were not able to fit all their vehicles on site at the school location. As well as the school it would be highly likely that other locations around the city would be required, bringing valuable trade in to our city.
Hotels & taxi firms would also benefit from having such a production in the city, after all the cast & crew need accommodation & transport.
There were also employment possibilities for local people, 24 hour security is required for the site, cleaners & extra production staff were also required. Seeing as Staffs Uni has a faculty of Arts Media & Design there would have been some fantastic opportunities for students.
The production company also stated that they have a policy of sourcing as much of the equipment, materials & props locally which would have benefitted local businesses.
I asked the City Council what they had done with the request and had they put any possible sites forward and they were unable to confirm if they had entered in to any dialogue about any possibly suitable locations in the City.
It isn’t possible to say if Stoke-on-Trent would have met the all criteria of the production company or if its proposal would have been successful but as it isn’t ringing any bells within the Civic Centre the chances are we were never in the running.
That said I find it a bit strange that the City Council cannot confirm they corresponded with the production company as Pits n Pots have been given a copy of a Corporate e-bulletin, which is distributed by E-mail to all council staff, the copy we have shows that someone managed to publish the whole letter from the production company in it, so somebody has seen it and done something with it.
Tony wrote a few weeks ago about the Chief Executive drawing on his commercial experience to draw income in to the city and opportunities like getting a large BBC production in to the city for up to 4 years, generating around £30,000 in rental alone cannot be over looked.