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Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday

You are in: South Yorkshire > Radio Sheffield's 40th Birthday > The Changing Face of South Yorkshire: Films

Jimmy Kemp in Threads

Jimmy Kemp in Threads

The Changing Face of South Yorkshire: Films

We're looking at how South Yorkshire has changed in the past four decades, and this time it's films. Toby Foster talked to Tony Earnshaw from the National Media Museum in Bradford...

Toby Foster Bigger at Breakfast, Friday 12 October 2007

There's been Kes (1969), Threads (1984), Brassed Off (1996), the most lucrative film for South Yorkshire The Full Monty (1997) and of course independent films like This is England (2006).

Kes (1969)

Kes (1969)

And over the past 15 years in particular there's been a massive resurgence of movies in South Yorkshire.

"Thanks to Screen Yorkshire (formerly Yorkshire Screen Commission) the area has attracted lots of film crews", says Tony Earnshaw who is Head of Film Programming at Bradford Media Museum, as well as directing the annual Bradford Film Festival.

"We're a particularly attractive area because of the locations - from rolling moorland to (almost) mountains, Wuthering Heights style landscapes, and urban grit - we've got them all."

And Tony points out that lots of other films have been shot in South Yorkshire - in part if not in whole:

"Quite often you might be watching the screen and think, 'I recognise that location' even if the film is set primarily in the south, in Scotland or Ireland or elsewhere. Suddenly you'll see Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield..."

Chatsworth has been used for several period films, in fact extras have recently been auditioned for a new film about the Duchess of Devonshire. Several little-known 1960s action movies were shot in South Yorkshire too - and Tony points out that there are plenty of films which have never made it out of the distributor's warehouse:

Image taken from The Full Monty (c)

Scene from The Full Monty

"One of my favourite films is Solo Shuttle, shot here in 1997. There were various problems with financing and distribution which meant it didn't get released.

"I saw if for the first time this year and I'd be surprised if anyone's ever even seen it - there are lots of examples like that - films so obscure that they never made it off the shelf.

"The British film industry over the past few years has become renowned for making tight concise little projects and budgets - not blockbusters. It's massively unlikely that you'd get huge blockbusters in this country and especially in this region because the money isn't there."

Members of the This Is England cast

Skins in This Is England

But there are successful independent film companies such as Warp in Sheffield who made the very popular 2006 film This is England.

According to Tony Earnshaw, it's films like this that the British film industry should be concentrating on: "homegrown, quality dramas like This is England. But beware of "quirky British comedies" which are stuck in distributor's warehouses somewhere!"

:: Tony is currently writing a book about movies made in Yorkshire and is looking for people who have worked as extras on films based here. If this is you, contact the BBC Radio Sheffield Action Desk: 0114 267 5444.

last updated: 12/10/07

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