‘Victoria’, the first production to film at Church Fenton Studios, marks a new era for film & TV production in Yorkshire
ITV’s highly anticipated drama ‘Victoria’, starring Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Death Comes to Pemberley, Dancing on the Edge) as a young Queen Victoria, is screening now on ITV, Sundays at 9pm. The production marks a shift in the industry landscape for Yorkshire. The ambitious 8-part drama follows the early life of Queen Victoria from her accession to the throne at the tender age of 18 through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.
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‘Victoria’ spent seven months filming in the region after producers Mammoth selected Screen Yorkshire’s newly launched Church Fenton Studios, in Selby District near Leeds, as the production base to recreate the central Buckingham Palace set. It is the first time that Yorkshire has been able to host a major drama that required such large scale studio space.
Jon Williams, Director of Production, Mammoth (Poldark, Black Work), says:
“One of the easier decisions we had to make on Victoria was where to base the production. The hangar studios at Church Fenton, with all the surrounding offices, store rooms and car parking, were the perfect place to build the interior of Buckingham Palace. There are very few places where one can build a ballroom, a throne room and vast corridors all under one roof. Best of all, Church Fenton is right in the heart of the most beautiful part of Yorkshire, with good access to excellent crews and some of the most striking locations in England.”
Sally Joynson, Chief Executive at Screen Yorkshire says:
“Adding the Church Fenton Studios to our portfolio means that for the first time Screen Yorkshire is able to attract large scale projects like VICTORIA to the region. That huge internal space (over 30,000 sq ft in one stage alone) on a 440 acre site has been such an important element in developing Yorkshire’s offer to productions. Screen Yorkshire worked closely with Mammoth Screen and site owner Chris Makin, of Makin Enterprises, throughout the production period – and the future potential for that site is incredibly exciting. It marks a major sea change for the film & TV industry in Yorkshire.’’
Inside the Buckingham Palace Set at Church Fenton Studios
Whilst Church Fenton Studios was the central production base for the lavish period drama, hosting around half of the Yorkshire shoot, ‘Victoria’ also filmed at many of Yorkshire’s rich portfolio of stately homes and period locations, including; Harewood House, Newby Hall, Castle Howard, Temple Newsam, Allerton Castle, Beverley Minster, Bramham Park, Carlton Towers, Wentworth Woodhouse, Whitby Pier, York City Centre. Creative England provided crew and locations support and helped with securing filming permissions for the shoot.
Kaye Elliott, the Head of Production Services at Creative England, said: “It’s fantastic for Yorkshire’s world class locations to be taking centre stage once again in this new prime-time drama for ITV. The quality of this production is another illustration of how Yorkshire has the skilled crews and facilities to make world class television and now a new large scale studio facility, which is sure to bring further productions to the North.”
BAFTA-nominated actor Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle, Parade’s End, The Pillars of the Earth) is cast alongside Jenna starring as Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s first prime minister. The two immediately connected and their intimate friendship became a popular source of gossip that threatened to destabilise the Government – angering both Tory and Whigs alike. Tom Hughes (The Game, Dancing on the Edge, Silk) will star as Prince Albert.
Jenna, Rufus and Tom are joined by a stellar ensemble cast including Paul Rhys (The Assets, Borgia, Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, Peter Firth (Spooks, Undeniable, World Without End) as the Queen’s conniving uncle the Duke of Cumberland and Catherine Flemming (Simones Labyrinth, No Place to Go) plays the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother.
‘Victoria’ is made by Mammoth Screen, producers of Poldark (BBC One) and Endeavour (ITV), and the series is created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin, in her screenwriting debut. Daisy serves as executive producer alongside Dan McCulloch (Endeavour, Indian Summers) and Mammoth Screen’s managing director Damien Timmer (Parade’s End, Poldark).
The series opens with a 90-minute episode on Sunday 28th August from 9pm, followed by 7 one-hour episodes. Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster, He Knew He Was Right, Starter for Ten) directs the first three episodes and Paul Frift (Doctor Who, That Day We Sang, Room at the Top) produces the landmark series.
Screen Yorkshire announced the major new film & TV space in Church Fenton between Leeds & York in June, after securing an exclusive deal with the property’s owner Makin Enterprises. Since then the content financier has been working behind the scenes to re-purpose the site for film and TV use. Comprising three aircraft hangars (each over 30,000 sq ft and 36 ft to beams, office space, garages, workshops, extensive parking, roadways and runways, the site is ideal for large scale productions such as Victoria.
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