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Killing Eve, Breeders, I Hate Suzi and the hit movie Yesterday have all been filmed on location on Greater Anglia trains or stations.
Greater Anglia seems to be hitting all the right marks with TV drama’s, films, documentaries, adverts and fashion shoots taking place on the East Anglian network.
With regular requests for filming coming in, the rail operator found it difficult to manage the interest and even ended up turning down offers as it was impossible to undertake the needs of film crews on top of running a railway, because of this Greater Anglia decided to employ Adrian Booth as their commercial film liaison manager.
One of the initial film projects to use Greater Anglia for locations was Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’s film Yesterday which starred Himesh Patel. Danny Boyle is renowned for capturing atmosphere with impressive cinematography which is set off by perfectly chosen locations.
Buckenham station, which is a request stop on the line from Norwich to Lowestoft, was the location for the recording studio in the earlier part of the film which and is actually used as a recording studio in real life called ‘Sonic Fruit’. Some may also have noticed that the train that passes the studio is being pulled by iconic Class 37s which were being used in service at the time of filming.
Bennet Maples, Sonic Fruit’s head engineer and studio owner, said: “It was a huge thrill to meet Danny Boyle, and so exciting to see a film of this size utilise locations in this area. There is a thriving film industry in East Anglia which we are extremely proud to be a part of, and it was great to see Danny Boyle and (screenwriter) Richard Curtis embrace that.”
Credit: Greater Anglia
Commercial film liaison manager Adrian has already worked on 6 films, 20 TV dramas, multiple corporate videos along with entertainment and documentary shows for TV, short self-funding films and a fashion shoot whilst working with Greater Anglia. Adrian deals with initial interest calls and then investigates how the projects could be facilitated, he also meets with different departments throughout Greater Anglia and also accompanies all filming.
Filmmakers use images to create backdrops or to establish the location or atmosphere of a scene. Sometimes filmmakers will need to demonstrate a sense of movement and may use tracking shots to do this. These different shots can be achieved brilliantly, especially using real-life locations such as carriage interiors, stations and passing trains.
The railway is incredibly useful for telling stories as it is a natural location for arrival or departure, things are always happening and this can allow dramatic moments to unfold even while seated with dialogue often exchanged between seated passengers.
Killing Eve featured a dramatic chase which took place on a Greater Anglia platform at Liverpool Street station with an escape made on a Stansted Express train. During production, the station became an unmanned station in Scotland. The Greater Anglia train planning team made sure that there was plenty of platform space available for filming at Liverpool Street and also organised a train overnight on a Sunday to enable the filming to go ahead.
Greater Anglia stations situated nearer to London such as Hertford East, Cambridge, Stansted Airport and Southend Victoria have been popular as filming locations because they are so close to London with good road connections such as the M25.
Sometimes Greater Anglia staff get in on the act getting to play parts as extras. Ivor Wilson, who works at the ticket barrier on Liverpool Street got a supporting actor role in Magpie Murders, which is an Apple TV Anthony Horowitz production.
Credit: Sonic Fruit
Ivor said: “I played myself, all I had to do was to check tickets as “passengers” walked through the exit gates. It was a very interesting day. It was amazing to see how much work goes into filming and how much effort and time goes in.”
Next time you are travelling with Greater Anglia, keep your eyes peeled because you might spot some of the locations you see from TV or film.
Martin Moran, Greater Anglia commercial director, said: “We really wanted to support the British film industry and also our local communities and businesses by facilitating filming requests, so we decided to hire someone whose sole job is to make all the necessary arrangements so filming could happen,”
“Not only does hosting the film crews boost the local economy around the station where filming is taking place, but it puts another string in our region’s bow as an ideal place for filming to take place – if production companies know that filming on trains and stations is an option in this area.
“It’s also good to be supporting the British film industry – although it’s not restricted to this nation’s film industry – we’ve also had major Bollywood shoots on our trains and stations.”
Greater Anglia lead train planner Michael Lewis said: “Generally when we supply a train and crew they are able to shunt up and down in a platform at the request of the film director.
“The biggest plan for us was for an Apple TV show which required two platforms at Liverpool Street and a number of additional services so that they could film on the go on board during two days of filming one weekend. We were able to take advantage of the reduced service due to the lockdown – it would have been considerably more challenging in normal times.”
“It normally works by Adrian either contacting me with a rough proposal and then after a fair bit of toing and froing we get a clearer idea of what’s required by the film company and what’s actually possible. Then we go away draw up plans, send these back to Adrian who will then get confirmation for us to go ahead.
“There have been a few that we haven’t been able to accommodate due to timescales or other impracticalities, but generally we are normally able to help.”
Greater Anglia Commercial Film Liaison Manager, Adrian Booth, said: “A lot of time is spent looking at production teams’ requests and suggesting ways in which they might be facilitated. Access requires careful planning and needs to be carefully managed. We cannot allow customer access to be limited or for passengers to be inconvenienced – and we definitely can’t delay services. We select quieter times when customer numbers are lower, which limits the impact on customers.
“We have to make sure that all health and safety requirements are met – as the railway has many potential hazards.
“Generally there’s a buzz among Greater Anglia staff when we are working with film/TV and high end drama productions. It’s something interesting and different. Catching a glimpse of a celebrity is always enjoyed. It’s fascinating to see behind the scenes of these productions. There are so many people involved and so much equipment. It’s a bit like the circus coming to town. Crews of 60 are not unusual, at times there are even more, with supporting actors. Jack Ryan saw around 120 people involved in the production. Although it’s not always the case – sometimes there is a crew of just ten, including actors.”
This article first appeared on www.railadvent.co.uk
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