Liverpool cements reputation as one of the UK’s leading film and TV locations as Liverpool Film Office says 2023 has been a record-breaking year. Tony McDonough reports
It has been a record-breaking year for Liverpool Film Office (LFO) as the city’s reputation as a leading film and TV location continues to grow.
During 2023 Liverpool hosted 301 film and TV productions. These added up to 1,933 film days, boosting the economy by an estimated £43.6m. They have also supported 1,493 full-time equivalent jobs (direct, indirect and induced).
In the last year, the city region welcomed projects such as Taylor Swift’s pop promo for I Can See You (Taylor’s Version), Sexy Beast (Paramount), Cobra 3 (New Pictures/Sky), The Responder 2 (Dancing Ledge/BBC) and Time 2 (BBC Studios/BBC).
Adding to the numbers, LFO also supported 63 different Eurovision productions filming in the city – this included a secret pop-up performance by Sam Ryder at the Albert Dock.
This year also saw cabinet approve a report to accept funding from the BFI under a new skills cluster partnership with North East Screen, Screen Manchester and Screen Yorkshire.
This is part of a Screen Alliance North initiative to plug the skills shortage gap by supporting 1,000 new entrants from diverse backgrounds to build a stronger and more inclusive workforce.
And The Depot at Edge Lane, managed by LFO, welcomed its first long-term tenant with Paramount’s Sexy Beast, which concluded filming in February following 144 shoot days across the Liverpool city region.
More recently, the two 20,000 sq ft studio units played host to a unique residency of Macbeth starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma, who also provided workshops to GCSE and A-Level students across the Picton ward of Liverpool.
Another stand-out moment was the second series of Time, which aired in October after receiving investment from LFO, through the Liverpool City Region Production Fund.
The highly anticipated series had its UK premiere at St George’s Hall with key cast members in attendance including global superstar Bella Ramsey and writers Jimmy McGovern and Helen Black.
In 2024 LFO will celebrate its 35th anniversary – and as the first film office in Europe, the future looks promising with remedial work beginning on a film and TV campus at the site of the former Littlewoods Building in Edge Lane.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “Every year, the Film Office team work tirelessly to bring and retain film and TV production in the city.
“From welcoming Taylor Swift to the Cunard Building, dealing with the many Eurovision-themed television projects, to investing in Time series 2, starring Jodie Whittaker and Bella Ramsey, this year will go down in the record books for LFO.
“There’s no questioning why Liverpool is the most filmed UK city outside of London and I know we will all be looking forward to what the new year brings.”
Head of LFO, Lynn Saunders, added: “As we head into our 35th year, I can honestly say that this year has been a truly ground-breaking year for film and TV production across Liverpool city region – from feature films to high-end TV, we have seen it all.
“Year in and out, my team of eight, supported by a team of eight hundred, work to bring production to our region and this has resulted in a fantastic array of projects filming right across Wirral, Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Sefton.”