Posts Tagged Filming

BBC Doctors on Location at The RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon

Owen Brenman (Dr Heston Carter) on the stage at the RSC Stratford-upon-Avon in a break in filming on Friday 29th January 2016.

@OwenBrenman on Twitter: Filming at Stratford #BBCDoctors #RSC

….give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.
–  (As You Like It. Act 2. Scene 7. Jacques.)

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death the BBC daytime soap, Doctors, is currently filming episodes that incorporate Shakespeare into its story lines. During a special Shakespeare Week (18th – 22nd April 2016) each episode will feature a story and theme inspired by a Shakespeare Sonnet.

On Friday 29th January 2016 the cast and crew were busy filming at The RSC Stratford-upon-Avon, where I managed to speak to series producer Peter Lloyd about what inspired the forthcoming week of Shakespeare at the Letherbridge Doctors practice.

Peter explained, “It’s part of BBC celebrations this year for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and we wanted to play in it. We are one of the few shows that are made in the Midlands and Shakespeare is a Midlands boy and on Doctors we have the capacity to do something a little bit different.

I was looking at what the other departments in the BBC were doing and nobody was doing the Sonnets and I’ve always thought the Sonnets are bits of Shakespeare that a lot of people know, or people know lines from and people have them read at weddings and I thought it would be nice to do it for our audience, so all the episodes during the week leading up to the anniversary are based on a Sonnet and the story is inspired by a Sonnet.

We had a huge amount of response from our writers, who all wanted to do one, so I had to choose five.”

Speaking about picking the five episodes that will form the week long celebration of Shakespeare, Peter admitted, “It was very difficult to pick just five episodes as the interpretations were so different. You’d think with the Sonnets it would all be love poems, either to a young boy or a dark lady, but they weren’t. I did some research last summer and found one that was really dark, about rape and lust, and another one about insomnia, it’s a huge variety which I hadn’t really appreciated before. I did nudge the writers to not just think about romance and love and they did, with each episode written by a different writer.

Peter admitted that filming at the RSC is ‘a huge thrill’ and fulfills a boyhood dream, as he used to come to the RSC as a child and remembers being totally overawed by the place so he’s terribly excited to be featuring the RSC in one of the special episodes.

Jamelia in BBC Doctors

Jamelia features in an episode called  ‘Past reason hunted’ by Steph Lloyd Jones inspired by Sonnet 129. Image © BBC

Revealing a Doctors exclusive Peter confirmed that, Birmingham singer and Loose Women host, Jamelia has been cast in one of the special Shakespeare episodes which is due to be filmed in February 2016.

The location shoot, over two days, is also taking to the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon and there are plans to also film at The Fourteas on Sheep Street which will add to the scenes filmed inside the theatre.

BBC Doctors is on BBC One every weekday at 13:45

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Doctors Celebrating 3,000 Episodes – Ian Kelsey Interview

Back in May 2015 the cast and crew of Doctors went out on location in Birmingham city centre to record scenes for a special hour long episode to celebrate the milestone of reaching 3,000 episodes of the popular BBC daytime soap.  With the special hour long episode due on screen on 10th September it won’t be long now before we all get to see what happened

The official press release is cloaked in secret but does give a hint of what to expect in what promises to be an exciting climax to an ongoing story of police corruption in Letherbridge.

A shooting in a city centre, A dance with a whiff of romance, A damaged child saved…and corruption exposed.

Ian Kelsey plays Howard Bellamy

Ian Kelsey waits on set during the filming of Doctors 3000th episode in Birmingham.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast in between scenes. My second cast interview of the day was with the soon to be departing, Ian Kelsey, who plays The Mill’s Practice Manager, Howard Bellamy.

Ian is no stranger to TV soap drama, having played Dave Glover in Emmerdale for 6 years in the 1990s, so I started by asking Ian how the filming schedule on Doctors compared to other serial dramas he’s worked on.

Ian was very clear on the pressures of working on the BBC daytime show, “The speed, I’ve never worked on anything as fast as this, never. It takes you a while to get used to it, well actually you never get used to it. Even after three years there are still scenes that slip by that you could have done a lot better but because of the speed your quality content just drops, you have to drop your level of acceptance of what has just been filmed because you can’t say can I have another take, it just doesn’t work on a show like this.”

“On other jobs you do have time to get it right, I’m not saying we get it wrong but there are sometimes when it’s a situation that if all the right words are in the right order and the boom [microphone] didn’t show then we’re moving on.  It’s tough because you are against the clock, but it’s also the content you have to learn. Once you’ve finished a big day you’ve got to go home and put another fifteen scenes in your head.”

The five times a week show films on a triple banking shooting schedule with three different crews filming different stories across multiple episodes at the same time, so I asked Ian how much this contributed to the busy workloads the cast often find themselves under.

Ian explained, “There are three of four of us that get hit every year, when the extra director steps up, carrying three episodes himself, so at any point during a triple strand you’ve got nine episodes in your head and you are crisscrossing all day long onto different blocks. You’ve really got to be on your game and know, have I had an argument with that person, have I kissed her yet, have we fallen out yet and even has she had her baby yet, it’s ridiculous and it’s tough. It’s mainly me and the receptionists, when it’s that time of year, we get hammered, because it’s just like working in the Queen Vic, you’ve got your fingers in everybody’s pies as our position in the show means we know about everybody’s goings on.”

Playing Practice Manager, Howard, means that Ian has to work with most of the other cast on a regular basis, so I asked him how he prepared for all the different relationships he needs to maintain throughout the show.

Ian gave huge credit to the writers in his response, “Sometimes you have to make it up yourself and eventually the writers pick up on, very quickly on this show I may add, if I put a character trait in, and keep my eye on how often I can do that, then the writers will grab hold of that and you’ll find within weeks or months, what you’ve developed somebody will have put in for you. It’s like when I read a script the other day, I’d got a scene with Ian Midlane who plays Al, and that writer has absolutely nailed his rhythm, everybody has different rhythms, and when I was reading it I could just absolutely hear him talking and that writer has obviously paid attention and nailed Ian Midlane’s delivery.”

With Ian completing over 400 episodes as Howard, I asked if there was any particular one that stood out as a personal favourite of his and after a bit of thought he said, “Well, the one I wrote myself, that was [a] brilliant [experience]. It was such an interesting learning curve having to write to the perimeters of a budget. Only having three people, other than cast members, to tell your story, and you can’t have a fourth, and you realise just how difficult it is to tell a story with just three people. You are always needing them to talk to someone else, so you are having to engineer phone calls or conversations away from camera and they have to come back and say ‘have you heard what they have just said’. Of course getting Caroline Quentin in to play my sister was a laugh, as she’s good fun.”

With a stream of guest actors coming and going in Doctors I took the opportunity to ask if there was anyone in particular that Ian would like to bring in to work alongside. After a short pause he went for, “Sandra Bullock, that would be good, she could come in and be my girlfriend I suppose.”

With news of Howard’s departure still fresh, and his final scenes to be filmed on the 10th July, I asked Ian what was next,

“I don’t know, that’s the exciting thing. I’m writing a ten or twelve part kids with Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumbles), we went to drama school together, and we are developing this kids series at the moment. He’s just finished working for the BBC recently, so hopefully we’ll get some time together to get that off the ground. Let’s see what happens, that’s the exciting thing about taking my leave. I’ve had a lot of fun [on Doctors] but when it’s time, it’s time.”

Ian Kelsey Interview

Ian Kelsey being interviewed by What’s on TV

Since the interview it’s been announced that Ian will be touring the UK in the lead role of banker Andy Dufresne in the stage play of The Shawshank Redemption alongside his former Casualty co-star, Patrick Robinson.  The show opened in Windsor on 18th August and can be seen at theatres around the country until November, when it finishes in Cardiff.

You can see and hear more of what Ian Kelsey had to say during the filming in a video on the What’s On TV website.

I’ll publish more of the interviews and photos from the day in the lead up to the special hour long episode on 10th September and the Doctors filming location now features in the Birmingham TV & Film locations walking tour that operates in conjunction with Film Birmingham.

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Danny and the Human Zoo begins filming

The BBC drama Danny and the Human Zoo started production filming on May 3rd 2015. The cast and crew have already been spotted in Moseley, Birmingham as it doubles as 1970s Dudley for this Lenny Henry written show, based on his early career while growing up in the West Midlands.

Here are some of the tweets of the week that have tracked the production;

The week before filming started the cast had a read-through session in Dudley, as this tweet from Red Production Co. shows, they looked pretty happy with how things were going;

Actor Jack Loxton grew up in Halesowen and has secured a role in the show following a number of successful stage show appearances;

From Kascion Franklin, the young Birmingham actor, who plays the lead role

Red Production Co. revealed this factory/industrial location on the 7th May 2015;

and Birmingham News (@DailyBrum) also shared a picture from inside the factory, which is a foundry on the Vaughan Trading Estate in Dudley Port, Tipton.

On the 8th May 2015, Moseley Forum, shared details of a local road closure as the production took over a ‘Dudley’ street;

Kascion Franklin also gave us another cast member as he snapped this photo with Lenny Henry and Hamilton Brenton;

this was clearly after he had been rescued from his trailer though

and finally we got to see the whole of the Fearon family in all their 1970s glory, thanks to Barry Butler;

It’s great to see this show start it’s production and if the Moseley Forum tweet is accurate it seems we will get to see the results this summer.

Look out for Danny and the Human Zoo filming in and around the West Midlands for the next few weeks.

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Welcome to Brinford 1956

On Sunday 16th November 2014 something very odd happened as I walked my normal route towards Victoria Square. Walking up Great Charles Street everything looked, and seemed, normal but as I turned first left towards Victoria Square I began to understand how Goodnight Sweetheart’s Gary Sparrow must have felt as Margaret Street had became Birmingham’s equivalent of Duckett’s Passage and I found myself staring at a street scene from the mid-fifties.

The street had no road markings, the double yellow lines and disabled bays that were there on Friday had now gone. Two gentlemen, both dressed in long drab overcoats and sporting trilby hats stood passing the time of day next to a black Wolseley Four Forty-Four Police Car and a Birmingham Corporation, Daimler number 6 bus was noisily transporting a couple of flat cap wearing passengers to the Town Hall, well at least that is what the sign said.  Had I actually stumbled on time vortex right here in Birmingham or was it all a strange dream? CUT! echoed the voice from across the street. I then spotted the small group of people gathered around a camera on the other side of the road all nodding with approval at the scene they had just captured. Yes, WPC 56 was back and this was Brinford police station exteriors filming day.

Previously on WPC 56…

We were first introduced to WPC 56, in the shape of the lovely Jennie Jacques, back in March 2013. The new show told the story of WPC Gina Dawson, the first female officer at Brinford station and was set in 1956.  For a daytime drama the content was daring and edgy and featured racial prejudice, sexism, murder and corrupt officers.  Series Two continued the daring themes with prostitution, more murder, more police corruption, con-men, blackmail and homophobia some of the topics covered.

Series Three reportedly involves both a murder and a beauty pageant, although it is not yet clear if the two are linked and with WPC Dawson moving on to The Met, the station sees the arrival of WPC Annie Taylor, played by the equally lovely Claudia Jessie, as a her replacement.

WPC 56 could easily fit into the Sunday evening, Call The Midwife slot, however daytime budgets and programming are currently limiting this great series to an afternoon outing on BBC1, but it’s one well worth setting your Sky+ box for as it’s cracking TV.

Meanwhile back on Location…

Margaret Street had been transported back to 1956 and the Birmingham & Midland Institute building had become the same Brinford Police Station exterior that we were familiar with from Series One and Two of the show, with one noticeable addition, a bright red Victorian postbox.

Brinford Police Station

Back in 1956 Brinford station has a red postbox which replaces the modern plastic bin that normally occupies the same spot in the modern day 2014.

Police Station signs and noticeboards had been added to the building foyer and a period bicycle was casually leaning against the black railings, it was an amazingly simple, but very effective transformation taking a modern street nearly 60 years back in time.

Disguising the street furniture

A blue police box cleverly hides the newly installed parking ticket machine.

Covering double yellow lines

Double yellow lines to mark parking restrictions were not introduced until 1960, so these had to be covered up with tarmac colour strips.

Modern street signs were turned or removed to hide them from the cameras and parking restriction markings, that were not introduced until 1960 in the UK, had to be covered too.  The recently installed, and very modern looking, parking tickets machines were obscured behind what seemed to be a custom made blue police box, which when viewed from the correct angle made the modern world simply disappear.

UPDATED: The attention to detail was perfect, so I was quite surprised when I originally thought that they were using a car that was ahead of its time. I thought the Wolseley 1500 had not been manufactured until 1961, however, the supplier of the police cars used for the scenes (APL Film Cars),  has now confirmed that the car used was made in 1957.  With the third series moving us on a year from the original series the placement of the car is accurate, which is maintains the level of the detail you would expect from this quality drama.

Hiding a very modern disabled access sign

Hiding a very modern disabled access sign

I had arrived on ‘set’ just in time to see some opening shots, involving period cars, vans and buses; as well as a few suitably attired pedestrians; being filmed as they drove past the station. In fact, Sunday’s filming was to capture all the exterior shots required for the new five episode series that is due on our BBC1 screens in early 2015, so there were quite a few takes to get through which also involved a great deal of careful manoeuvring of these large vehicles. There was a slight delay as a couple of modern cars, that had ignored the suspended parking signs, were towed away.

That may seem a little harsh, but this was a single day shoot and they could not afford any delays, so the cars just had to go.

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) gets some finishing touches to her make up

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) gets some finishing touches to her make up.

Enter WPC Annie Taylor

Once the back and forth of vintage vehicles had concluded we finally got to see the new Brinford WPC on set.  Claudia Jessie might be the new girl but she arrived with the confidence of a series regular and took direction from crew to ensure they got through the opening scenes very quickly. Claudia was well prepared for the cold November morning, arriving in a virtually full length red quilted jacket and warm looking boots, however, it wasn’t long before she changed into her regulation black police shoes and a smart red coat. With a number of supporting artists adding to the street scene we were treated to the new WPC’s first arrival at Brinford Station, which she seemed to take with a noticeable spring in her step.

Claudia Jessie films WPC Annie Taylor's first day arrival at Brinford station

Claudia Jessie films WPC Annie Taylor’s first day arrival at Brinford station

After a number of different versions had been captured, presumably for different episodes or scenes, Claudia’s work was done (for now anyway) and she tried, sadly in vain, to get the rest of the crew to join in her own one woman Mexican wave celebration of the wrapped scene. This was just one of the many moments of ‘friendly and fun banter’ that I witnessed during the day and it certainly gave the impression that the cast and crew are thoroughly enjoying filming this series which I hope will translate well onto the screen when the series airs.

Charlie De'ath on set of Series Three on WPC56

Sgt Fenton (Charlie De’ath) takes cover on the set of Series Three on WPC56

With Claudia’s opening scenes completed, next up on the Brinford streets it was WPC 56 series regular Charlie De’ath’s turn to reprise his role of Sgt Sidney Fenton. In another carefully choreographed scene involving cars and supporting cast Sgt Fenton is seen crossing the road towards the station before being startled by what sounds like gunfire (see picture right).

Having completed his scenes for the morning, Charlie (now dressed in his civvies) headed off into Birmingham, only to return a few hours later armed with shopping bags, he’d clearly found time to visit the Bullring between his scenes.

I then missed about an hour of filming as I ventured off to get myself a warm drink, to try and warm up my nearly numb fingers, but the German Christmas Market crowds (yes, I know it’s only the middle of November!) made getting around the Birmingham streets quickly a huge challenge. Having finally battled my way to a coffee shop, on my return I called into a supermarket and picked up a large tub of chocolates. On my return to Margaret Street I handed the chocolates to a very surprised crew member, and called it my ‘Random act of kindness’ for the day. They were obviously well received as they were soon being passed around and enjoyed by everyone on set.

New Inspector Clues…

The Inspector and WPC Taylor quickly leave the station and jump into the car as the press pack surround them.

The new Brinford Inspector and WPC Annie Taylor quickly leave the station and jump into the car as the press pack quickly surround them.

The next scenes filmed, once again, involved WPC Taylor and what I gathered was the new Chief Inspector at Brinford (Oliver Rix). The Brinford Inspector certainly looked the part, wearing a long dark coat and a trilby hat and driving the aforementioned, slightly futuristic, Wolseley car with WPC Taylor assuming the role of his supporting officer in the two scenes filmed during the morning  session.

In the first scene they had to run the gauntlet of a waiting press pack outside the station entrance.

The 1950s look of the waiting press contingent was completed with a couple of ‘period’ cameras and the supporting artists used them to great effect as they hounded the couple to their car.

In their second scene together the duo arrived back at the station, where a lone reporter was looking for information on a suspect they had in custody and was demanding details of any charges that may have been made.

As the Inspector and reporter parted company WPC Taylor was joined by Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac), carrying a large parcel. They had a quick conversation before Susie left, presumably for a trip to the Post Office.

Rachel Leskovac keeps warm on a cold November morning on set

Rachel Leskovac tries to keeps warm on a cold November morning on set in Birmingham

The glamorous secretary Susie Nightingale sets off to post her parcel

The glamorous secretary Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac) sets off to post her parcel

Wearing a floral blouse and navy pencil skirt with a pink headscarf and a long overcoat, Station Secretary Susie looked as glamorous as ever, which was a big transformation from just 30 minutes earlier when Rachel arrived on set in a long navy dressing gown and warm boots (see picture).  In fact the make up department worked their magic throughout the day, often rushing in and out of the Birmingham & Midland Institute Building armed with cosmetics and styling tools, to fix or transform that perfect 1950s look.

They also snapped a number of ‘continuity’ photos of both the main cast and supporting artists to help them recreate the same look for other scenes in the future.

With another couple of scenes completed, it was time to break for lunch and everyone left the Margaret Street location to head back to the production base for a visit to the catering team, so I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the finer details of the set design (see photo slideshow at the end of the post).  I too then headed off to my base (or home) for a warm and a drink before heading back out to Margaret Street as dusk approached.

Finally, As Darkness Descended…

Back in Margaret Street a Black Morris Police Van had joined the parade of vehicles on display and was lined up with the two Wolseley’s outside the station. A camera on a long swinging, crane like, arm had been set up opposite the station and was running through a few practice sessions of the planned shot, which would start low and slowly rise into the air as the cars were pulling away from the station.

A line of vehicles parked outside Brinford station awaits the police force

A line of vehicles parked outside Brinford station awaits the police force

A number of different camera angles were used to record the Inspector and the police officers running from the station to the vehicles before they raced off down the road. After each take the cars were reset and the action repeated until the scene had been captured from every possible direction. There was, however, a heart-stopping moment for one of the car owners when during a reset of the scene the two-tone Wolseley lurched forward, nudging the back of the black police car at the front of the line.  A worried looking Oliver Rix, the driver of the car, checked with the crew that there was no damage to either vehicle before the scene continued. It could have been a lot worse and I think he got away with it, just.

This final scene of the day involved a lot of the main cast with Sgt Fenton (Charlie De’ath) and PC Perkins (Liam Jeavons) jumping into the black Police car, the Inspector (Oliver Rix) and WPC Taylor (Claudia Jessie) getting into the Wolseley and Sgt Swift (James Barriscale) riding shotgun in the Morris van.

Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale happily posed for a quick picture before they left the Margaret Street location.

Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale happily posed for a quick picture before they left the Margaret Street location.

As the production crew called it a day there were cheers all round and everyone congratulated each other on a job well done. Before they all headed back to base I managed to briefly chat with Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale who both happily posed for a photo.

It had been a long, but very interesting day, and the small crowds that gathered throughout the day seemed excited to see a TV show being made on the streets of Birmingham.

It was merely a taster of what series three has to offer, and I was already looking forward to the series anyway, but now I’ve had a glimpse of what is to come, I can’t wait to see how it is transformed on the screen. If it’s as good as series one and two then it’s sure to be another cracking series.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for anything that is filmed in Birmingham as I enjoy seeing how the city has been used on screen and what locations have been utilised to make the show work, however, the show still needs to grab my attention and entertain me as well and I can safely say that WPC 56 delivers in this department. With huge doses of 1950s nostalgia, great characterisation and gritty and entertaining story lines the show truly earns its Worldwide success with the earlier two series currently airing in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Hopefully the BBC will repeat series one and two before the new series airs so that those in the UK who were slow to pick up on the show can catch up on the previous episdoes.  Series Three is due on our screens early 2015.

Finally here is a slideshow of some more pictures from the filming that took place on Sunday in Margaret Street.

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‘Brummiewood’ filming

With two full length movies and a TV series filming in and around Birmingham right now, it is looking like the lack of a permanent production facility in the city is not putting off the movie and TV makers from using the city as the location for their creativity.


The latest project from Electric Cinema owner, Tom Lawes, has been filming around the UK since September. The production has been filming in Birmingham where some scenes were filmed on Colmore Row and the fictional British Crime Agency headquarters has been built inside the former Birmingham Municipal Banking Hall.

Monochrome Movie BCA Set

Monochrome Movie: British Crime Agency Headquarters set inside the former Birmingham Municipal Bank on Broad Street. Image Source: Monochrome Movie Facebook Page

Monochrome has also filmed scenes in Pershore and in Devon, where a news of a helicopter stunt over Raparee Beach made the North Devon Gazette.

The film is a psychological thriller centred around the British Crime Agencies and their search for Emma, a young woman who has turned killer after fleeing to the countryside following the arrest of her boyfriend. To track her down the BCA hire a detective with the neurological condition, synesthesia.

Stars of film include Jo Woodcock (Land Girls, Doctors – Both produced by the BBC Drama village in Birmingham), singer songwriter Cosmo Jarvis (Spooks: The Greater Good – some scenes also filmed in the Midlands). There is also a great support cast which includes James Cosmo (Highlander, Trainspotting, Braveheart), Charles Venn (Eastenders), Lee Boardman (Coronation Street, Great Night Out), Delroy Brown (Scott & Bailey) and Jan Francis (Emmerdale).

The Call Up

The Call Up has been part-funded through Creative England’s West Midlands Production Fund has been written and will be directed by award winning commercials director Charles Barker. The principal photography on the started in November in an undisclosed Birmingham location.

The action sci-fi film is set in the world of computer gaming technology see a group of elite online gamers taking on a testing invitation to try out a new cutting-edge, revolutionary gaming experience however they soon realise that the game is real and they facing a true fight for survival in a game that has suddenly turned very sinister.

The cast also includes Max Deacon (Into the Storm, The Promise), Morfydd Clark (The Falling), Ali Cook (The Anomaly, The Messenger and former Magician on Monkey Magic) and Tom Benedict Knight (Dracula Untold, Houdini).

WPC 56 – Series 3

Filming has reached week four on the third series of the successful 1950s police drama and the cast have already been spotted at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and Chateau Impney in Droitwich.

Annie Taylor is the a new WPC on the Brinford beat and is played by Midlander Claudia Jessie. The series two regulars Liam Jeavons, James Barriscale and Rachel Leskovac all return as PC Tommy Perkins, Sgt John Swift and secretary Susie Nightingale.

The previous two series of the show are currently being aired in Australia (BBC First), New Zealand (Sky TV) and the United States (WETA UK) making it an international success along with Peaky Blinders, with both shows spreading tales of Birmingham past across continents.

Maybe Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight has a point when he champions Birmingham as the location for a new base for film making as the demand to film in the city is certainly there, it just needs the facility to attract even more, and this can only be good news for the city and the council run Film Birmingham team.

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WPC 56 Series 3 – Who’s in?

When the BBC Media Centre broke the following news on 27th August 2014;

Both Father Brown and WPC 56 returns for a third series. A Halloween ghost story, a Christmas wedding, the arrival of a new nurse and farewell to some familiar faces, tune into Doctors this autumn on BBC One to find out more.
WPC56 will – tx BBC One late Autumn – 10 x 45 mins. Produced by BBC Birmingham

A whole TEN episodes, that was unexpected, especially as series one and two only had 5 x 45 mins episodes. It certainly seemed that the daytime show was set for even greater exposure, and rightly so. However, just under one month later a star of the show confirmed that the 10 episode announcement was likely to be a mistake.  In a tweet, James Barriscale (Sgt Swift) doubted the release by commenting; “not unless they’re 20 mins eps!

A press release from Endemol Distribution, confirms that there will be just FIVE new episodes for series three, but it also states that they will be one hour long (Series one and two episodes were only 45 minutes long).

Here is the series three synopsis from that release;

It’s 1956 and fresh faced WPC Annie Taylor (23) is the one and only female officer in the Brinford Police. Trailblazer WPC Gina Dawson has now moved on to pastures new in the Met, leaving Annie to walk the very same beat, but with a rhythm all of her own. Hailing from a respected police family this way of life is in Annie’s blood, but as the first woman amongst them to join up she has big shoes to fill, not least of all her father’s. Annie is determined to be the best policewoman she can be, and with the same old attitudes to contend with at work and at home, it’ll be an uphill struggle. But Annie Taylor is gutsy and tenacious; she’s never given up on anything in her life, and she’s not about to start now.

So who will be returning for series three?

Filming on series three commenced on Sunday 19th October 2014 and some of the cast have already announced their involvement.

An appearance from Jennie Jacques is now looking very unlikely (unless in a flashback or in brief cameo role).  Jennie has been exceptionally busy in 2014, first with Vikings;

and then on September 17th Jennie revealed her next project would be The Delivery Man for ITV;

WPC56 Series Three

WPC Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie) and PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons) on set during filming of series three. Photo: Liam Jeavons

So, with WPC Dawson heading to the Met, we will be seeing a new WPC on the beat in Brinford and she will be played by Claudia Jessie, revealed in this tweet from her agent.

At the end of week three filming Liam Jeavons (PC Tommy Perkins) posted a few pictures on his Facebook page and we finally got a look at the new WPC.

You can catch a glimpse of Claudia, as the nurse’s daughter, in the new Boots Christmas 2014 Advert

Confirmed – Liam Jeavons reprises his role as the shy PC Tommy Perkins

Initially heavily hinted – James Barricale will return as Sgt John Swift, unless he normally wears 1959 cardigans!

and then later confirmed

Confirmed – Rachel Leskovac returns as bubbly station secretary Susie Nightingale

So Susie, PC Perkins and Sgt Swift are back, as confirmed by this picture from Liam Jeavons on Twitter, but who else will we see?

Charlie De'ath in Series 3

News update from Waring & McKenna confirming Charlie’s involvement in Series Three.

Confirmed – Charlie De’ath (Sgt Sidney Fenton)

Charlie was last seen on our screens as a land agent in the BBC series Our Zoo, and it now seems that he will reprise his character from series one and two after his agents confirmed his involvement on their website.

Confirmed – John Bowler (Chief Superintendent Arthur Coulson) Visible on set in this series three filming image;

Confirmed – London Talent Agency, Cole Kitchenn have confirmed Daniel Brocklebank (Carl Saunders) will return

Daniel is currently dividing his time between the Weatherfield cobbles of Coronation Street and the 1950s streets of Brinford and was confirmed as being back on the WPC56 set in November in this photo from Liam Jeavons

Highly Likely – Mark Healey (Chief Inspector Briggs)

With confirmation that Daniel Brocklebank will reprise the character of Carl Saunders it does seem very likely we’ll see Mark Healey so they can pick up their storyline from series two.

Confirmed – Susannah Doyle (June Sawyer)

Susannah was a series regular in ‘Drop The Dead Donkey’ where she played, the not as cheerful as she sounds, PA Joy Merryweather. Susannah was last seen on the small screen in the 2012 ‘Outnumbered’ Christmas special, where she played Tatiana.

Confirmed – Joanna Higson (Vicky Hall)

Committed to the show until December, joining the cast in the role of Vicky Hall. Joanna has previously appeared in Shameless, Holby City and Doctors.

Confirmed – Adam Lawrence (Marty Havers)

A graduate of Birmingham School of Acting (BSA), fresh from his role as Polly Gray’s lover in the 1920s drama Peaky Blinders, jumps forward 30-odd years in time to play Marty Havers.

Confirmed – Melanie Kilburn (Lydia Taylor)

Melanie is certainly no stranger to a police drama. She has previously appeared in Juliet Bravo, Heartbeat, The Bill, Holby Blue, Lewis, DCI Banks and Law & Order:UK, so she should be quite at home in Brinford in a role quoted to be ‘Semi Regular.’

Confirmed – Amy Shepherd (Helen Reilly)

Amy graduated with a BA (Hons) Acting from ALRA: North (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) in 2014 and this is Amy’s first TV role. Amy is a finalist in Monologue Slam at Birmingham Rep on 5th November 2014.

Casting Call Pro gave a hint to one series three storyline when they reported that Diane Ellis will play a Beauty Pageant Guest.

Out – Ben Turner (DI Max Harper)

Currently touring in ‘The Kite Runner‘, which runs until 22nd November. Due to his current commitment to his theatre tour, Ben Turner will not be available until late November, which will rule him out of a major role in series three. See comment #1 below

Location Updates

On 9th October 2014, Moseley School confirmed on Twitter they will be one of the 1950s locations used for series 3

The cast and crew completed a shoot at Chateau Impney, Droitwich on 30th October 2014.

During the first week in November series three scenes were filmed at the Black Country Museum, Dudley and in an old factory unit in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

No location for this scene, but sounds quite exciting;

When I hear any news I’ll update this post, so watch this space.

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The Game – Latest Update

Set back in the 1970s during the height of the Cold War, The Game promises to be a series of explosive and expert espionage that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Filmed in Birmingham, Wales and London in 2013 the series makes it’s debut on BBC America on Wednesday 5th November 2014 at 10pm E.T.

No firm date for UK release as yet, but you can now whet your appetite by viewing the series trailer.

Those familiar with Birmingham may recognise a few of the locations that briefly feature in the 60 second trailer.

A series of stills from the series, along with character guides and episode 1 synopsis can be viewed on BBC America 

Further details on the filming of The Game were posted here in January 2014 

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The Game – 1970s Spy Drama filmed in Birmingham

What’s it About?

Created by Being Human writer Toby Whithouse ‘The Game’ is a tense Cold War spy thriller set in London in 1972. MI5 learn of Operation Glass, the codename of a Soviet plot, from a defecting KGB agent and set up a team to investigate. Each episode will investigate a different Soviet agent as they try to understand the details of Operation Glass.

Who’s in it?

The Game stars Tom Hughes (Dancing On The Edge) as interrogator Joe Lambe, Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) as MI5 head ‘Daddy’, Paul Ritter (Quantum Of Solace) as Bobby Waterhouse the head of counter-espionage, Shaun Dooley (Misfits) as Special Branch detective Jim Fenchurch, Chloe Pirrie (Black Mirror) as secretary Wendy Straw, Victoria Hamilton (Toast) as Sarah Montag, the deputy to Bobby Waterhouse and Jonathan Aris (Sherlock) as Alan Montag, husband of Sarah and a bugging expert.

A number of the cast have previously filmed in Birmingham before with Tom Hughes filming scenes at the Council House and the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row for Dancing on the Edge. Victoria Hamilton starred as a young Nigel Slater’s Mom in scenes at the former Birmingham Municipal Bank on Broad Street and also at the Grand Hotel for Toast. While Shaun Dooley guest starred in Hustle (S07E06) as Cool Hand Cooper and filmed scenes outside the Weslyan Building at Colmore Circus, inside the safe deposit room of the Birmingham Municipal Bank and in Commercial Street at the rear of The Cube.

Where’s it been filmed?

Newhall Street: Bomb blast injured are lead away by the police
Image Copyright: Roger Marks

The show has been filmed almost exclusively in Birmingham and the surrounding area, but for a few days the cast and crew moved to Wales and a spent a week in London.

The Game filming on Newhall Street

Newhall Street: Bomb blast victims stuck under the rubble are checked over by the production team.
Image Copyright:
Roger Marks

Birmingham Central Library provided the location for the 1970s MI5 headquarters and the production has also been seen at the Centenary Lounge in Moor Street Station, Moseley Road Baths, Central Fire Station at Lancaster Circus, Merevale Hall in Atherstone and The Old Rep Theatre in Station Street.

There have also been key scenes at Fletcher’s Walk, Reddings Road in Moseley, a big stunt scene on Newhall Street (see below), a scene on the Birmingham & Fazeley canal under the Snow Hill railway arch off Livery Street and a scene at a restaurant off Corporation Street. Filming also took place inside a building on Waterloo Street where I had a brief conversation with Tom Hughes while he waited to be called for his scene.

They have also used the open spaces of Cannon Hill Park and the Lickey Hills (doubling as Hamstead Heath) as well as the industrial area of the canal network in Smethwick.

When’s it on TV?

The Game wrapped the week before Christmas but as yet there are currently no published dates for the release of The Game, however it is expected to air in the first half of 2014.

Filming Location Images

While Doctor Who has his trademark blue TARDIS it seems that The Game are favouring the UK red K8 telephone kiosk as looking through the collection of images gathered from many sources it does seem to features heavily in a large number of the scenes.

Reddings Road Moseley: Shaun Dooley (Jim Fenchurch) completed scenes at this property in Moseley back in September 2013. This house features in Episode 3.
Image Copyright: Birmingham Evening Mail


Cornwall Street: A pleasant August evening was transformed into a rain soaked street with three large water jets firing water high into the air. This scene features in Episode 2.
Image Copyright: Sparks68

Newhall Street Location Shoot

A video shot on Newhall Street on 27th October 2013 featuring a London Transport bus and a large crane camera. At 3:57 into the clip you will see Tom Hughes run into the scene from the right and slip on the pavement. He recovers well and there is no major harm done, I just hope he managed to stay on his feet for the actual take. Video by Paul Donovan (You Tube)

Newhall Street Filming Stills

A set of images taken on 3rd November 2013 while The Game were filming on Newhall Street in Birmingham. Click on any image to open a slideshow of all images.

Filming locations used by The Game featured in the Birmingham TV Locations walking tours in 2014.

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Brassed Off – 1996

Brassed Off. The interior of the Royal Albert Hall scenes were shot at Birmingham Town Hall in Victoria Square.
Image Source: British Film Locations Website

Released in 1996 this story of the Grimley Colliery Brass band and their struggles against the Conservative Government’s policy of pit closures was filmed mainly in South Yorkshire, but when the band win through the finals of the national brass band competition they head off to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The movie starred a number of big name UK actors including Ewan McGregor, Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Stephen Tompkinson and Sue Johnston.

Filming the competition in a major London venue obviously proved too costly or logistically difficult so they used the Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square, as an interior ‘double’ of the Royal Albert Hall.

In a memorable scene the band win the competition with a blistering rendition of the William Tell Overture before Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) makes an heart-felt and emotional speech about the closure program ruining industry and lives and refuses to accept the trophy.

An supporting artiste on the day of filming, 30th November 1995, has posted a two part blog about the experience.  Bobby Civil was in the audience listening to the Grimley Colliery Band but also was asked to play one of the competition judges. You can see Bobby in clip of the Pete Postlethwaite speech link above, the middle of three judges standing behind the trophy table.

Brassed Off – Part One – Bobby Civil’s Blog

Brassed Off – Part Two – Bobby Civil’s Blog

Added Trivia

So inspirational was that Pete Postlethwaite speech recorded in Birmingham Town Hall on a cold November day that it was used in the intro of the 1997 UK no. 2 hit Tubthumping by Chumbawumba.

“Truth is, I thought it mattered; I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks! Not compared to how people matter.”

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