The Forge’s multiple-award-winning National Treasure tells the story of Paul Finchley; one half of a popular, long-running comedy double act, whose world is thrown into chaos when he is accused of historic sexual abuse.
The hugely ambitious drama series has a stellar UK cast including Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters, but as a very British story, it was unlikely to draw international co-production funding. Without wanting to compromise their ambitions for the show, The Forge sought to raise additional funding and to look for ways to film more cost-effectively. The Forge’s Mark Pybus had worked with Screen Yorkshire previously, so suggested talking to the Leeds-based team to see how they might help.
Screen Yorkshire jumped at the opportunity. In addition to offering financial backing/[matching the funding The Forge had already obtained] for the series, Screen Yorkshire supported the production by suggesting potential filming locations that would help recreate the London of the series, without the need to spend budget filming in the capital. Bit by bit, the versatile set of locations within Yorkshire and Humber allowed The Forge to piece together the world of National Treasure. Taking advantage of its central position in the region, Leeds became the series’ production base, while Scarborough and Hull became key filming localities, doubling as Notting Hill and London’s legal district respectively.
Screen Yorkshire also provided advice on local crew, whom The Forge wanted to use as much as possible, because of their expertise and local availability.
The result? Despite National Treasure being set in London, The Forge needed only shoot two scenes in the capital; the equivalent of a single day of filming. The other nine-and-a-half weeks of the shoot were based in Yorkshire and Humber. Working with Screen Yorkshire, The Forge was able to deliver a show that came in on budget without compromising on quality, as evidenced by its multiple award wins, which include BAFTA and RTS, Peabody and Roma Fiction Fest Awards.