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13 November 2014

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You are in: Tees > People > We Are Teesside > The Blade Runner Connection

The Blade Runner Connection

This is probably one of the first claims to fame people hear about Teesside. The dramatic opening shot of the sci-fi classic Blade Runner was based on Teesside's Wilton Chemical Plant, but was any of it actually shot here?

Wilton works. Inspired the look of the movie, but never made it to the screen.

Wilton works. Inspired the look of the movie.

You only have to look at the futuristic cityscape of the film, with its mix of bright lights, industrial hulks and flames licking into the sky to be convinced that it is based on Teesside. You can see an identical vista from the Parkway and Wilton Castle.

Add to that the fact that director Ridley Scott spent a large chunk of his younger years living on Teesside and it's a done deal. Anyway, Ridley Scott has talked openly about how be based the look on the old ICI works.

But some film fan sites on the internet have taken this to mean that the opening shot IS of Wilton. We would love to say it is, but sadly, it was a scale model.

Wilton works today.

Wilton works today.

Sembcorp, who now manage the site, told us that the site was considered by scouts looking for locations to film one of the sequels to Ridley Scott's other science fiction standard, Alien.

No one seems sure which of the Alien films was nearly filmed here, since a formal approach was never made.

Sembcorp say the safety and insurance problems with filming a big Hollywood production amongst working chemical facilities ruled the idea out at the offset.

Probably the most likely of the Alien films to have considered Wilton would be Alien III, which was part filmed just a few miles up the coast at the former Dawdon Colliery.

You can see our chemical works on screen, though, if you keep an eye out. Part of the TV series Spender was filmed at Wilton Castle, while an episode of Harry features chemical works on the other side of the Tees at Seal Sands Road.

last updated: 31/03/2009 at 16:47
created: 30/03/2009

You are in: Tees > People > We Are Teesside > The Blade Runner Connection



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