Movie industry falls in love with Norfolk – it must
be the Broads

Film-makers are being given funds to look beyond London and show Britain’s diversity

The Norfolk market town of Swaffham has not hitherto been synonymous with the stars of the movie industry and neither has Aldershot, which is primarily recognised for its links to the British Army.

Swaffham’s only real claim to fame is being used as a location in the BBC’s wartime comedy ’Allo ’Allo, while Aldershot formed the backdrop for some scenes in Brad Pitt’s 2011 zombie horror film World War Z.

But these two provincial spots are set to benefit from a push by the film industry better to reflect life and culture outside the big cities. Indeed, Norfolk is to be the subject of an eponymous feature film, a tale of a disillusioned mercenary living on the marshy Broads.

The Goob, meanwhile, will be set in Swaffham and explore the local community’s special relationship with the motor car.

Along with Spaceship, a tale of teenage life in the Hampshire commuter town of Aldershot, these films have been chosen by Creative England for financial support and will all be shot in the summer. The three films are being funded by the iFeatures project, which is also supported by the British Film Institute (BFI) and BBC Films, meaning they will be shown on BBC television after their theatrical release.

The initiative forms part of a backlash against what some see as a London bias in British film making. “I’ve always felt that there isn’t enough telling of stories that represent the diversity of England,” said Chris Moll, head of talent development at Creative England, the national agency that funds creative ideas.

He said it was important that films truly reflected a local culture, rather than simply used a place as an interesting backdrop. “So often films that head out of London don’t really get under the skin of a place,” he said. “They are only interested in going to a nice location or because it is a bit cheaper to shoot outside of London.”

The Goob is centred on Swaffham Raceway, the isolated town’s stock car racing track. Guy Myhill, the film’s director, said: “In that part of the world there’s a dependency on cars and people grow up being able to fix and repair them – and that lends itself to stock car and banger racing. You also have the American airbases on the doorstep.

“East Anglia has a hell of a connection to the Americans, down to the love of painted vehicles. The race track has this dirty raw sound and you have these big old bruisers in boiler suits with lump hammers but the whole family, the wives and the daughters, all go. It’s a weird kind of culture.”

Mr Moll credited the BFI chairman Greg Dyke  with encouraging the support of film-makers outside of London. Mr Dyke, who is also about to become chairman of the Football Association, told The Independent: “The clue’s in the name: we’re the British Film Institute and we take our UK-wide remit seriously. We want everyone across the UK to have the opportunity to be part of the film industry.”

The same philosophy will be reflected at the Cannes film festival next month, where The Selfish Giant, the second feature from director Clio Barnard (who made the acclaimed The Arbor, based on the life of the Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar) will have its world premiere. It is also filmed in Bradford and the Midlands.

And Paul Wright, a Scottish writer and director, will have his Highlands-based debut feature, For Those In Peril, shown as part of the festival’s International Critics’ Week.  Around the country film crews are working on new projects away from the familiar backdrops of London or Edinburgh.

The director Duane Hopkins (who made the haunting 2008 Cotswolds feature Better Things) is filming Bypass in Gateshead, Durham and the colliery village of Shiremoor.

Yann Demange (who directed the Channel 4 London gang drama Top Boy) is working in the South Yorkshire steel town of Stocksbridge, outside Sheffield, on a film called ’71.


The town’s military barracks were used to film a Brad Pitt movie in 2011. But the film hardly reflected local culture; World War Z was an apocalyptic horror film about a zombie takeover. The barracks were also used for scenes in 2011 film Captain America, and 1960 Peter Sellers comedy Two Way Stretch.


Nearby Castle Acre Priory was a location for 1964 horror flick The Tomb of Ligeia. The Norman priory was also a setting in children’s programme Knightmare. Local lad Stephen Fry starred in ITV drama Kingdom, filmed in the village; and Swaffham also featured in BBC wartime comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?