Written by on Jan 26, 2015. Posted in On Location

US pilot The Bastard Executioner to be latest historical drama to film Wales

The pilot for new US drama The Bastard Executioner will film in Wales. Written and executive produced by Kurt Sutter, creator of US biker drama Sons of Anarchy, the show will be the latest period project to film in Wales, after Da Vinci’s Demons and the pilot of Disney’s Galavant.

Filming in South Wales from this March, The Bastard Executioner will follow a warrior knight during the reign of King Edward II in the 14th century.

Potential locations for the pilot were considered across Europe and the UK, but the production team spent much of the past year considering specific locations in Wales with the support of Wales Screen.

Da Vinci’s Demons doubles South Wales for 15th century Italy. Disney’s musical fantasy Galavant used the same region to establish its fairytale setting for its series pilot, before shifting to England for the main series shoot.

“There are a lot of American productions over here at present, and the lovely American crew I’ve been working with are always very impressed to see the Welsh locations and countryside,” said Dee Gregson, Location Manager on Galavant.

Filming in Wales has become more cost-effective since the UK’s TV tax credit was launched in 2013.

“It got a bit ridiculous when I was driving them round on recces," Gregson adds: "There always seemed to be a cricket match just taking place on a picturesque village green, a welcoming lord or lady of the manor offering afternoon tea or polo ponies cantering round in a match next to a beautiful lake in the countryside.

“I had to keep reminding them we do have grim inner city areas as well! We were lucky enough to film in some very beautiful locations.”

Filming in Wales has become more cost-effective since the UK’s TV tax credit was launched in 2013. Wales lacks large-scale studio facilities, but productions like Da Vinci’s Demons and the BBC’s fantasy series Atlantis (right) have built their own studios in old industrial buildings.

Adapting warehouse buildings is also a popular practice in London to cater for international demand while the major studios invest in long-term expansion plans.

“Industrial buildings are viable, as long as the money is present for sound proofing, there is enough parking, and the buildings chosen are suitable in layout and height. Not always easy to find!” Gregson adds.

Pinewood Studios recently opened a small-scale facility in Cardiff and The Bottle Yard Studios across the River Severn in Bristol also offers easy access to South Wales.

(Da Vinci's Demons production stills: © 2013 Tonto Films and Television Limited)


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