What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

A Conversation with Film Edinburgh

Teacup Travels, Film Edinburgh

According to Sean Connery, Edinburgh seems like it was built as a film set. What do you think about that? Rosie from Film Edinburgh told Dickins all about what makes the city so appealing to directors, location scouts, casts and crews!

Why does Edinburgh make such a popular destination for filming?

The range of locations available to filmmakers is remarkable. For period dramas, filmmakers love the scale of the Old and New Towns, where they can swing a camera 360˚ and remain in period. We have grand municipal buildings, as well as modern business centres, industrial zones, a fantastic mixture of housing, and, of course, we also have the coast and countryside not only our doorstep but in the heart of the city. On top of this, we are lucky to have a film-friendly council who understand that images of the city on the big screen are the best advertisements of all, and ones that money can’t buy!

The 39 Steps in West Register Street

The 39 Steps in West Register Street

What do you love most about your job?

One of the things I love most is having the opportunity to meet all sorts of people and visit all sorts of interesting and unusual places. As the film office for the Edinburgh city region, it’s our job to attract filmmakers to the area and in order to do this, we need to be able to show them a range of locations that could work for their production. We never know what the next production is going to be looking for – it really could be anything from a fairy-tale castle to a homely cottage by the sea – so we’re always looking for new locations that we can add to the mix!

North and South in St Stephens Place, filmed in 2004

North and South in St Stephens Place, filmed in 2004

Anyone in the city region can register their property with us free of charge as a potential film location, so we get out and about a lot, to houses and castles, factories, farms, hospitals, and harbours…the list is endless! It’s an absolute joy when we get to call up a location owner about a piece of filming. It’s always a surprise and can be really exciting – you could even get a call to say that Steven Spielberg thinks your property could work for his next blockbuster.

One Day in Moray Place (2011)

One Day in Moray Place (2011)

“I’ve filmed in most of the world’s great cities which makes coming home here all the better. To me, Edinburgh seems to have been built as a film set.” – Sean Connery

Could you tell me a bit about the some of the locations that have been used for filming?

Right now there’s a crime drama on BBC 2 called ‘Murder’, by director Birger Larsen. This has filmed predominantly in a school building on the edge of the city which we managed to get into only weeks after it had been closed permanently. It was the perfect base for the production, serving not only as several institutional locations but also as a production office. Other locations to look out for are St Bernards Crescent Gardens and the Courts in episode 2, ‘The Lost Weekend’.

Sunshine On Leith, Constitution Street (2013)

Sunshine On Leith, Constitution Street (2013)

We’ve had several homes and parks all over the city in series like Case Histories and Pramface. There’s a house on the seafront in North Berwick which was used as ‘Eric Lomax’s’ home in the film The Railway Man. Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman were in the house every day! It was a big number, with the filmmakers making all sorts of temporary changes to the house, so the owners moved out for a few weeks (at the production’s expense).

A one-bedroom flat in one of the tenement blocks in Polwarth was used as the nurse’s home in Sunshine On Leith and there are, of course, places like Old College and Gosford House which get used a lot for period dramas like Garrow’s Law and Castles in the Sky.

Is there a popular time of year for filming?

It completely depends on what the filmmakers are looking for. It’s often quiet during the winter months but if filmmakers are looking for darkness, the short days work well.

Sunshine on Leith (2013)

Sunshine on Leith (2013)

Are there any hidden gems that you would recommend Dickins guests visit?

That’s a great question! It might not be very hidden, but something that has to be done is to climb the steps of the Scott Monument. This is a lovely thing to do, following in the footsteps of Ben Whishaw as Frobisher in Cloud Atlas. The monument also appears in ‘Death Defying Acts’ starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Fans of Oscar-nominated animation ‘The Illusionis’t’ by Sylvain Chomet can pop in for a pint at the Barony Bar located on Broughton Street. This traditional pub looks exactly the same as Chomet has it in the film, which is lovely!

Families with young children may recognise Great Aunt Lizzie’s cottage from Teacup Travels in west Princes Street Gardens – the head gardener’s office opposite the war memorial. And, if you’ve seen The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, you’ll recognise Greyfriars Kirkyard where Jean Brodie and her class run into Mr Lloyd. Harry Potter fans will need to look out for Tom Riddle who resides in the cemetery, too!

Teacup Travels

“Edinburgh is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most photogenic cities in the world, and not just because of the architecture, but also because of how the light plays which is very important in a film. As much as it has grandeur, it also as a real kind of texture to it, a real gritty street kind of feel, that, obviously any story to my mind and certainly the story we’re telling, needs.” – Dexter Fletcher, director – Sunshine On Leith

Thank you to Rosie Ellison from Film Edinburgh for sharing her insider information with us. Film Edinburgh is the film office for Edinburgh, East Lothian and the Scottish Borders. We offer free advice to productions on the locations, crew and facilities that are available in this area. Established in 1990 as the first film office in Scotland, the team have extensive experience of facilitating productions, in-depth local knowledge, a vast range of locations and excellent relationships in and around the Edinburgh city region which together make Film Edinburgh a one-stop-shop for filming and production needs in the Edinburgh city region. Please visit their website to find out more.

Coming to film in Edinburgh?

Dickins self-catering properties are in all the locations you want to be, often with gorgeous Edinburgh locations right on the doorstep. Two of our gorgeous properties are even available as Edinburgh Film locations…take a look at Rock House and The Photographer’s Studio. Could they be the perfect location for you?

Find your Edinburgh Home from Home here…

Film Edinburgh is the first contact point for productions with the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Police. We have the connections filmmakers will need for parking, road closures, police personnel, street furniture removal etc. For information on film locations in Edinburgh, Scotland please see our guides.

Rosie Ellison – Film Manager
0131 622 7337

www.filmedinburgh.org

– See more at: http://thisisedinburgh.com/film/#sthash.VPvXUNTr.dpuf

Film Edinburgh is the first contact point for productions with the City of Edinburgh Council and Edinburgh Police. We have the connections filmmakers will need for parking, road closures, police personnel, street furniture removal etc. For information on film locations in Edinburgh, Scotland please see our guides.

Rosie Ellison – Film Manager
0131 622 7337

www.filmedinburgh.org

– See more at: http://thisisedinburgh.com/film/#sthash.VPvXUNTr.dpuf

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