ITV’s Beowulf filmed on location in Northumberland and County Durham
The upcoming ITV produced television series Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, was filmed on location in Northumberland and County Durham which are located in the Northeast of England. Based upon the original Beowulf poem, this big budget production will attempt to appeal to both national and international audiences by tapping into the same medieval style popularised by Game of Thrones and The Last Kingdom.
I think you can probably get more extras for your budget in some foreign locations. But in the UK you don’t need to fly lots of people in.
Due to the short length of the source material, Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands will expand upon the traditional story by having Beowulf return from exile to join a community called Herot, eventually becoming their guardian.
Katie Newman, ITV Studios Executive Producer of Drama explains: “we didn’t have books to refer to as source material. We had to create a world from scratch. It took a lot of time and interrogation to get the premise right… it’s a fantasy, so there were no historical reference points for us to work from. Costumes, hair, make-up, everything had to come together in a unique, unified vision.”
While Northumberland and County Durham offer an aesthetic that helps to recreate the medieval period, the decision to film in these locations was largely influenced by the incentives offered to productions shooting in the UK.
The show’s co-creator Tim Haines adds: “I think you can probably get more extras for your budget in some foreign locations. But in the UK you don’t need to fly lots of people in. I also liked the fact everything was happening in the UK, rather than being spread across different countries. That helped with communications, which was a plus point for me.”
For high budget television shows the UK offers a 25% tax relief with the requirement of at least a GBP1 million expenditure per broadcast hour, an incentive claimed by popular shows such as Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders.
Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands will air January 3rd 2016 at 7pm on ITV.
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