US TV Studios ABC and AMC Filming New Series in Britain


Two new series by major American TV studios ABC and AMC are to begin filming in UK locations, it’s been revealed. ABC’s musical comedy fairy tale Galavant will start shooting at Bristol’s Bottle Yard Studios in August, while AMC’s 18th-century period drama Knifeman is to make use of historical buildings and cobbled streets in York.

Created and written by Dan Fogelman (TangledCarsCrazy Stupid Love), Galavant will star Joshua Sasse (RogueFrankenstein’s Army) as a dashing hero attempting to restore his reputation and reclaim the love of his life, Madalena (Mallory JansenBaby DaddyYoung & Hungry), from the evil King Richard (Timothy OmundsonJudging AmyXena: Warrior PrincessPsych). Musical numbers will be written and composed by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, who will also act as executive producers alongside Fogelman. Karen David (CastlePixelfaceWaterloo Road), Vinnie Jones (ElementaryLock, Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsX-Men: The Last Stand) and Luke Youngblood (The Story of Tracy BeakerHarry PotterCommunity) will co-star as Isabella, Gareth and Sid. The show will debut on ABC as the mid-season fill-in for Once Upon A Time.

knifemanFrom Knifeman, meanwhile, we can expect a very different tone. Based on Wendy Moore‘s biography of John Hunter, the show will tell the grisly tale of controversial surgeon John Tattersal who performs pioneering operations in his unlicensed home theatre. Tattersal will be played by Tom Hollander, who is no stranger to historical roles, having performed in a range of period films and TV shows such as Pirates of the CaribbeanPride and Prejudice and Desperate Romantics. Joining him will be Daniel Mays (Ashes to AshesAtonementByzantium) and Gavin and Stacey‘s Joanna Page. Brian Percival (The Book ThiefDownton Abbey) will direct, from scripts by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald (WeedsFriday Night LightsThe United States of Tara). Executive producers will include David Cronenberg and Sam Raimi.

“York is fast becoming the go-to location for high quality period dramas such as this,” said Knifeman location manager Matt Bowden. “I was born and bred in York so it’s great to see these streets used in something like this.”

The studios’ decision to shoot these shows in Britain is likely down to the high-end TV drama tax credit introduced by George Osborne in April last year, which offers government refunds of up to 20% of UK-based spending for qualifying TV productions – that is, those with a budget of £1 million per hour or more. According to The Guardian, during its first nine months of operation, the UK TV tax credit attracted a total of 31 applications, constituting a £233 million boost to the UK economy.

Among the US shows now shooting in the UK is Starz‘s Da Vinci’s Demons. Said Da Vinci’s Demons showrunner John Shiban,

“Over this past year, as I’ve developed pilots back in the States, it’s come up in conversation a lot more. The conversation is always: you can do it in Georgia, you can do it in Vancouver, or you can do it in the UK. ”

The TV tax credit follows pre-existing tax breaks for feature films, which have been a major factor in attracting big filmmakers to the UK, so it’s great to see a similar policies put in place for the constantly growing and evolving television industry. Let’s hope that Galavant and Knifeman are among the first of many more to come!

Sources: Deadline | The Radio Times | The Guardian

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