How did Creative England contribute to ITV’s Bancroft S2?

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Sarah Parish returns as ITV’s hard-hitting Elizabeth Bancroft

January 2020 sees the return of one of ITV’s leading detectives – the cold, captivating and calculated Bancroft, who had viewers glued to their screens over a four-night run on the channel in December 2017. Sarah Parish’s intense depiction of the unforgiving Detective Superintendent received plenty of plaudits first time round, and after the dramatic curve-ball plot twists of the first series, audiences will be hoping for more of the same – and an explosive start to our new decade.

Whether Bancroft is taking on her criminal or professional adversaries remains to be seen, but what we do know is the production was pieced together across the North West of England; the home of the fictitious detective, and host to a wide range of world-class production services – in addition to a wealth of broadcasters and production companies.

Creative England’s Production Services Team provide a facilitation service to the TV and Film Industries across the country, outside of the capital, and work closely with their Film Office Partners in other areas to mutually ensure a seamless service is provided to shooting productions, both domestic and international. But the question is – how was this service provided to the second series of Bancroft?

Crew Coordination

Since Creative England’s inception in 2011, its Production Services Team has provided, overseen and coordinated a Crew and Facilities Database, which is regularly used and accessed by productions looking for the right team or the right tools for their shoot.

Samantha Rifkin – Crew and Facilities Officer in the PS Team at Creative England – helped Bancroft’s team find the right personnel by sharing roles and opportunities with the eagerly-awaiting industry:

“Since early prep, we liaised very closely with the production team and assisted them throughout their shoot. Where we came in particularly handy was in searching for last minute dailies, for which, we used our highly popular job-posting service. Because of this and our comprehensive crew database, we were able to tell production exactly who was available, local and matched the skillset required.

The major benefit, of course, is that this enables us to put our crew in touch with the production, and we can confidently say we created those connections. One successful hire resulted in approx. 85 days of work, and most importantly, a fantastic credit on a HETV drama for that applicant going forwards.

In total we helped the production in their search for Production Runners, Location Assistants and Unit Managers and maintained great working relationships with the Production Coordinator and Location Manager throughout.”

Jenny Farrent – Production Coordinator on Bancroft – acknowledges the value in our extensive database and its dedicated personnel:

“My first port of call on every production when it comes to crewing up is Creative England.

I have used them for many years now and they always come through, whether you are looking for experienced crew or entry level runners. On Bancroft 2 they provided me with dozens of CV’s for various positions that we wanted to fill, and I ended up securing a fabulous member of my own team through a CV that was sent over. They really do provide an invaluable service to the TV and Film industry!” 

The second series of Bancroft used a plethora of locations across the North West

Location Suggestions

With a character as complex and engaging as Bancroft, the surrounding elements of the production must match the high stakes that are portrayed. To this end, the team need to find the perfect locations to backdrop the enthralling scenes, and the Production Services team have dedicated Production Liaison and Location Database support, on hand to provide the Production’s Locations Team with suggestions – as with Kevin Jackson, the production’s Location Manager:

Creative England are a one stop shop for TV and Film Production in the North West. From introducing locations and applying for permits to finding available crew, they should be the first phone call a location manager makes at the start of pre-production. Their help is an invaluable and time saving contribution to any production shooting in the North West. The back-up provided is both reassuring and heartening when approaching local councils for permissions to film, close roads or fly a drone”.

As one of the production’s locations, Judy McSorley –Enterprises Manager at Cheadle Hulme School – spoke keenly of the experience of having the team in to shoot:

“The production team and film crew were most professional and extremely friendly. There was quite an amount of detail to put in place before the filming, which required several visits, however they worked with us to ensure we all knew exactly what was needed to enable us to meet the requirements. 

Everyone arrived like a team of worker bees, once the School was available, to set up and transform the area, ready for the shoot the following day. We didn’t recognise the office after they had ‘dressed’ it to match their vision of the scene and we were pleased at their equal efficiency in putting it all back within our time requirements.

It was interesting to see how it all worked and came together and we are looking forward to seeing the ‘School’ featured when it’s aired.”

 Where did Bancroft film?

Some of the key locations that Bancroft shot on were in Bolton, Rochdale, Macclesfield and Knutsford – in addition to Liverpool and Manchester, where filming facilitation is overseen by Liverpool Film Office and Screen Manchester respectively.

The use of drones can be challenging but is becoming more and more frequent in Drama Production

Local Authority Liaison: Drone Shoots

Drones have become a mainstay in a production’s arsenal; they’re easier, cheaper and arguably more common than alternative methods of shooting whilst flying.

As was presented at our inaugural Filming in England Summit in May 2019by the Drone Safe Register, there are several considerations to make when shooting with a drone – including ensuring all those local to the location are made aware in plenty of time, in addition to the local authority and any businesses in the vicinity.

Dean Short was the production’s Unit Manager on their planned drone shoot, and got in touch straight away:

‘I was asked by the production to find open areas in parts of Manchester for drone filming. I immediately contacted Creative England, where they were very helpful in pointing me in the right direction to contact park managers and councils that could help.

It was swift and simple way to get answers that would sometimes take a longer time to get, especially as drone filming is becoming more complicated to film with new laws changing all the time. The efforts of Creative England and their connections essentially cut the middle-man, which was outstanding, and I would recommend anyone looking for open spaces to give Creative England a call or an email’. 

Be sure to catch the highly anticipated return of ITV’s Bancroft in January 2020.

To learn more about Filming in England, please visit www.creativeengland.co.uk/filming-in-england