Celebrity rowers and a Scottish comedian were among those who made TV shows in Argyll and Bute during 2020, a report has revealed.
But major TV dramas were largely absent from the area last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, although it is thought that three larger productions are interested for the future.
Argyll and Bute Council received more than £500 in commercial filming fees for hosting part of ITV’s Don’t Rock The Boat series, which featured celebrities like Fleur East, Denise Lewis and Craig Charles.
These took place in Port Ellen, Islay and Oban, while Susan Calman filmed parts of her Secret Scotland series on Bute and Mull as well as at Loch Fyne.
Parts of new Alibi drama Annika, starring Nicola Walker, have also been filmed in Helensburgh since the start of 2021.
The details of shows filmed last year all feature in a report for the council’s environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday.
Executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “It should be noted that the majority of productions filmed this year in Argyll and Bute were smaller unscripted TV series.
“This is due to the challenges larger feature and drama productions faced as business interruption insurance to cover Covid-19 has been unavailable for the majority of 2020 – many larger productions would not take the risk of filming.
“The film service is starting to see a change in this now as firms are starting to introduce insurance packages including Covid, for over £400m.
“Development and economic growth have started assisting larger productions again as of December 2020, with approximately three confidential enquiries ongoing at present.”
Ms Flanagan added: “Moving forward into the January 2021 full Scottish lockdown, the Scottish Government have stated film and TV remains able to continue production under ‘essential work that cannot be undertaken from home’.
“This is under the condition that productions adhere strictly to the industry specific guidance set out by the British Film Commission.
“The development and economic service will continue to monitor productions coming into the Argyll and Bute area where possible and encourage early community engagement.
“However, it should be noted that this is not always possible if productions do not require input or permission from the council – this is however a very rare occurrence for larger productions.
“The screen industries continue to have the potential to not only bring production spend to the local economy but to be a catalyst for the growth of the tourism industry in Argyll and Bute.
“As part of Argyll and Bute’s economic recovery process from the coronavirus pandemic, the development and economic growth service will continue to work across council services and with key partners such as Screen Scotland and the Scottish Locations Network to ensure filming is carried out safely in the Argyll and Bute area.”
By local democracy reporter Andrew Galloway
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