Written by Shona Smith on Jul 15, 2019. Posted in On Location

Bristol’s Old Vic takes on a starring role in Poldark finale season opener

BBC One’s Poldark series has been based in Bristol since it’s first series in 2014. The city’s Old Vic theatre took a starring role in the final season’s opening episode.

18370709-low_res-poldark-series-5Produced by Mammoth Screen for BBC One, the final series wrapped shooting in February, after carrying out on location filming in Cornwall, Bristol and the West Country in September 2018, before moving to shoot interiors at The Bottle Yard in Bristol. After basing production in Bristol for half a decade, the production wrapped for good in February 2019.

By the start of the fifth series, Bristol's Bottle Yard Studio housed eighteen sets used by the series across three soundstages. Key houses such as Nampara, Poldark’s home in Cornwall, London lodgings and the Red Lion Pub and a period scale replica of the House of Commons.

18370696-low_res-poldark-series-5In addition to on location filming that takes place in Cornwall, Bristol and locations in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire also feature in the new series. Producer Michael Ray says that basing production in at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios “gave us the ability to shoot extensively in Cornwall and reach out to the great many locations around Bristol” such as the Poldark ancestral home at Chavenage, Gloucestershire, the mine interior of Redcliffe Caves which double for Cornwall’s tin mines and Black Rock in Somerset.

Mammoth Screen, who produce the series for BBC One is a champion of BAFTA’s albert sustainability initiative, and used sustainable production methods such as LED lights and using local crew on Poldark to achieve a three-star rating during the fourth series. However, the production has gone on to reduce its carbon footprint by another ten percent for the fifth series.

18370852-low_res-poldark-series-5Helen Bater, Production Manager notes “There’s a wealth of talented crew in Bristol and the surrounding region that we’ve been fortunate enough to work with. Booking crew in such a way not only boosts local economies, it also brings down the cost and environmental impact of travel and accommodation. In series five, 88% of the main and daily crew were local bookings. Finding the right supplier has also been key to keeping environmental impact low. Being able to use companies based at The Bottle Yard has significantly helped. Having such a variety of services to hand is a real bonus for any production, for the obvious reason that they’re right on our doorstep, but also because the Studios has a strong green policy that the tenants share.”

When production wrapped in February 2019, care was taken to reduce waste. Bater continues, “We’ve also been careful to strike our sets at The Bottle Yard as sustainably as possible to avoid sending materials to landfill. Much of the wood has been passed on to other productions, and sets made from other materials, such as the mine interior which was crafted out of moulded polystyrene, were carefully dismantled and passed back to the set repurposing company Dres’d. We also donated household items from our crew’s accommodation such as pillows and duvets to homeless shelters in Bristol”.

18364021-low_res-poldark-series-5Fiona Francombe, Site Director of The Bottle Yard Studios adds “the professionalism of the cast and crew has made this a truly enjoyable period, and the team’s focus on sustainable production has been applaudable and inspiring. We celebrate Mammoth’s efforts to lead the way in reducing the carbon footprint of TV production. Poldark is a landmark series that viewers will remember for years to come, and it’s been a joy to have helped Mammoth realise their ambitions here. We look forward to welcoming them back for new projects in the future.”

The UK provide a 25% tax relief to high-end television series that spend at least 10% of core expenditure in the UK, and has an average qualifying production costs per hour of GBP1 million.

Image Credits: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Mike Hogan

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