Swallows and Amazons

Swallows and Amazons © Harbour Pictures

The big-screen adaptation of the best-selling Arthur Ransome classic, Swallows & Amazons was released in cinemas on Friday 19th August. The shoot took place during summer 2015 in Yorkshire & the Lake District backed by the Yorkshire Content Fund.

SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS follows four children dreaming of an escape from the tedium of a summer holiday with their mother. When finally given permission to camp on their own on a remote island in the middle of a vast lake, they are overjoyed. But when they get there they discover they may not be alone…As they battle for ownership of the island, they learn the skills of survival and the value of friendship, which helps prepare them for the real danger they must face from the adult world. Steeped in the wonder of a child’s imagination and set against the breath-taking backdrop of the Lake District, this is an exhilarating adaptation of a treasured classic.

Returning to the author’s roots

Author Arthur Ransome was born in Leeds and whilst the new adaptation of his much loved children’s classic is set  in the Lake District, a significant part of the shoot took place in Yorkshire following investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund.

Regional filming locations included: Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, Plumpton Rocks, Stockheld Park , Heptonstall and Wakefield . Creative England provided crewing and locations support and help securing filming permissions.

Marking the feature debut of acclaimed director Philippa Lowthorpe (TV’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Call the Midwife, and Jamaica Inn), and adapted from a screenplay by Andrea Gibb (Dear Frankie). Nick Barton of Harbour Pictures Productions, Nick O’Hagan, and BBC Films’ Joe Oppenheimer, are producers. Executive producers are Christine Langan of BBC Films, the BFI’s Natascha Wharton, STUDIOCANAL’s Danny Perkins and Jenny Borgars, Screen Yorkshire’s Hugo Heppell, Alexa Seligman and Jay Taylor of Electric Shadow, Peter Watson of HanWay Films, Steve Milne, and Ian Maiden.

Swallows and Amazons © Harbour Pictures

The cast includes:

Rafe Spall (BFG, I Give it a Year) as the enigmatic ‘Captain Flint’, Andrew Scott (“Pride”, TV’s “Sherlock”) as an agent and also features Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men, TV’s Boardwalk Empire) as ‘Mrs Walker’, Gwendoline Christie (TV’s Game of Thrones) as ‘Mrs Blackett’, Jessica Hynes (TV’s Up the Women, Shaun of the Dead) as ‘Mrs Jackson’, and Harry Enfield (TV’s Bad Education, Kevin and Perry Go Large) as ‘Mr Jackson’.

The Walker and Blackett children from the beloved Ransome story will be brought to life in this big screen adaptation by young breakthrough stars, including: Dane Hughes as ‘John Walker’, Orla Hill as ‘Susan Walker’, Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as ‘Tatty Walker’, Bobby McCulloch as ‘Roger Walker’, and Seren Hawkes and Hannah Jayne Thorp as ‘Nancy’ and ‘Peggy Blackett’.

Watching the young actors learn to sail so brilliantly in our Swallow and Amazon, as we prepare for the shoot, has been a great thrill. I can’t wait to bring this world of pure adventure to life

– Philippa Lowthorpe

BBC Films and the BFI developed the project with Harbour Pictures and are also supporting production. HanWay Films are handling worldwide sales. SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS will be distributed in the UK by STUDIOCANAL. The film received finance from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund, The Electric Shadow Company and Maiden Investments.