Somerset Council has launched a pilot project looking to cast the county in a starring role in film and television – with all the economic benefits that come with it.

Supported by a successful bid to the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), the Screen Somerset project is working to capitalise on the UK’s thriving film and TV industry.

It aims to make Somerset as ‘film friendly’ as possible, assisting filmmakers in finding their perfect location in the county and helping shoots run smoothly so they are keen to come back.

Film and television production brings big economic benefits and supports jobs, in the short-term through the spend in the local area – particularly in the hotel and hospitality sector – and in the longer-term through screen tourism when the county appears on screen.

In the 2023, production spend from High End TV and feature films in Somerset was an estimated £700,000 – that does not include the spend from many smaller film, television and advertising projects. The estimated High End TV and feature film spend across all English regions outside of London was £170m, with the South West region benefiting to the tune of around £29m.

Somerset is well-placed to capitalise on film production thanks to its transport links via the M5 and proximity to Bristol, which is one of seven film production hubs across the UK.

Screen Somerset provides a single point of contact, local knowledge, and works with the Council’s highways, parking and property services.

It is proactively promoting the county to regional, national and international location managers, working closely with Creative England’s Filming in England Partnership which is responsible for promoting filming outside of London.

The project has also set up a growing online database of great Somerset locations and will work with Visit Somerset to capitalise on opportunities for Screen Tourism and create a helpful database of film friendly accommodation and catering providers ready to benefit when productions come to the county.

Screen Tourism is believed to bring between £100-£140m to the UK economy. The recent Channel5 series Somerset: Wonder of the West Country, which was assisted by Screen Somerset, reportedly helped generate a notable increase in holiday rental bookings.

Councillor Ros Wyke, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Economic Development, said:

“The UK’s thriving film industry is a real opportunity for Somerset to generate income for its communities and businesses, and help put our wonderful and varied county on the map.

“Thanks to external funding, Screen Somerset is putting us on the radar of location managers and production teams, showcasing what we have to offer – be it beautiful beaches and coast, stunning moorland and unique landscapes, or historic buildings and photogenic towns and villages.

“Filming already generates sizeable production spend for the county, but we believe there’s great potential for more, as well as scope to use filming to attract more visitors and possible spin-offs for local skills and employment.”

Notable recent productions filmed in Somerset with the help of the Council include films such as Dungeons and Dragons, Good Boy, and Christmas at the Holly Day Inn; and TV shows including True Love, The 3 Body Problem, The Winter King, Finders Keepers and Somerset: Wonder of the West Country.

Charlotte Wood, Production Liaison Manager for the South West region at Filming in England, said:

“The South West has a strong offering to productions looking to film within the region. It’s been encouraging to see the rise in Local Authority engagement with film-facilitation in the South West further contributing to this fantastic industry network.

“It’s fantastic to have Somerset Council as a member of the Filming in England Partnership, which aims to connect the range of organisations across the regions to create a filming-friendly network. We look forward to continuing to work with Screen Somerset in driving inward investment and local economic opportunities to further the positive geographic spread of production activity into the wider regions.”

John Turner, CEO of Visit Somerset, said:

“We are hugely excited about this opportunity to bring Somerset and the film industry together. There are so many incredible historic back drops that date back hundreds of years that will make for fantastic film locations.

“We see rewards as Somerset and its locations are screened and broadcast all over the world, helping future tourists who chase film tourism locations, see Somerset in a new magical light.

“This is a positive development that the whole Visitor economy can genuinely get behind and take huge advantage of. We look forward to working with Somerset Council and the Screen Somerset office in getting this project off the ground”.

Information about Screen Somerset can be found at

From the set of Good Boy

About this article

May 21, 2024



Press Release