LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! Wokingham borough part of new Berkshire Film Board

Opportunities for film and TV crews to use sites including Wokingham Town Hall and Arborfield Green

WOKINGHAM is set to play a starring role as a location hotspot for big budget film and TV series.

Six sites including the Town Hall and Arborfield Green are among those earmarked for use by production companies.

It could mean film fees of up to £5,000 per day for the borough with countless more raked in through tourism and increased visitor numbers.

Other venues listed by the new Berkshire Film Office are the Council offices, Ryeish Green Sports Hub, Saint Sebastian Cemetery, and even the council’s housing stock.

The Film Office was launched this week by Berkshire born Oscar and BAFTA winning producer Gareth Ellis-Unwin who is behind films such as The King’s Speech.

Lilly Hudson, film officer with the new company said the aim was to provide a one-stop shop for film and TV companies looking for a variety of locations from woodlands to period property.

“Major films including Harry Potter and Eddie the Eagle were filmed in parts of Berkshire and we want to see more companies choosing the county for their locations,” she explained.

“Wokingham has a number of locations and buildings which could be used in everything from period dramas to modern films. A number of buildings could also double for London streets which broadens their scope for directors and producers.

“Wokingham is the only borough which has nominated its entire housing stock and with the variety and types of houses available, this could be very attractive to film companies.”

A major spin-off from location filming would be the use of local businesses from caterers to make-up artists and even actors.

“As well as the income generated through fees, local businesses would also benefit which brings more income and opportunities to the area.

“The Film Office does not take a fee which means all the income would go direct to the council. Our role is to facilitate contact making it easier for film-makers to access fantastic council-owned locations without having to contact each one individually.

“Wokingham’s advantage in being just a short train ride from London and within easy reach of Heathrow makes it very attractive for film-makers looking to shoot in locations that are both accessible and suitable to their requirements. The town’s proximity to Pinewood and Shepperton studios is also a significant advantage.”

The Berkshire Film Office said it has already had enquiries for filming from Netflix, HBO and the BBC.

Wokingham is no stranger to being used as a film set. In the past, The Red Lion was the venue for the ITV dinosaur show Primeval, Bearwood College was once a location for the ITV drama Soldier Soldier and back in the 1970s, Mia Farrow’s Blind Terror was filmed around Wokingham’s railway station.

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