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ITV’s atmospheric four-part crime thriller ‘Safe House’ begins this week on Monday 20th April at 9pm on ITV, featuring Christopher Eccleston and a wealth of breath-taking Cumbrian locations.
The drama follows couple Robert (Eccleston) and Katy (Marsha Thomason) who relocate from the big city to the Lake District to run a remote guest house but receive an offer to use it as a police safe house.
As their first guests, a family under threat struggle to come to terms with a recent violent attack, it’s not long before ex-Policeman Robert unravels a web of lies connected to his deadly final case.
‘Safe House’ shot primarily in Cumbria and the Lake District, with the show’s location manager Joseph Cairns working closely with Creative England’s Production Liaison Manager for the North to secure access to many filming spots. “We ended up spreading across Coniston, up to Dernwentwater and across Cumbria to service the shoot,” explains Cairns. “Our crew were hard working and didn’t complain when we made them climb Fleetwith Pike or spend days waiting for the weather up at Moss Force in the Newlands Valley!”
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By working with Creative England’s Film Friendly Partnership for Cumbria, a programme aimed at making regional filming easier, Cairns and the ‘Safe House’ production were able to ensure a smooth shoot. “There were no problems with local traffic management and council permissions,” adds Cairns, “and we all stayed in amazing digs like Bank Ground Farm – the actual farm from ‘Swallows and Amazons’ – and made the most of great local food and beers. Scouting was very exhilarating. The director, Marc Evans, was out on the lake with a camera until the sun went down then out again at dawn.”
The majority of ‘Safe House’ was shot around Coniston however the lake that appears throughout the series was, in fact, a number of different beaches including the Lingholm estate in Portinscale and a National Trust property on the other side of the Derwentwater. The production used Cumbria’s Film Friendly Partnership to find the perfect filming locations and properties to bring their story to life. Honister Slate Mine were happy to oblige the production and are just one of many locations registered on our Locations Database. This free online resource hosts a number of filming locations of all shapes and sizes, including local Cumbrian areas like Haweswater, Wastwater and Wrynose Pass. By using our Film Friendly Partnership, ‘Safe House’ production company Eleventh Hour Films was able to work with Creative England to ensure discussions with local authorities and county and district councils went smoothly.
Cumbria Tourism also worked with Creative England to assist the regional shoot of ‘Safe House’. “Cumbria Tourism works with a number of media partners to attract filmmakers to the Lake District,” explains Cumbria Tourism Managing Director Ian Stephens. “One of those central partners is Creative England with whom we work very closely, providing them with location, property and contextual information for a huge range of projects. There’s no doubt that the work Cumbria Tourism does with its partners helps to put Cumbria firmly in the TV and film industry spotlight.”
Filming expanded from Cumbria into Greater Manchester with our Production Liaison Manager for the Northwest Bobby Cochrane assisting the locations team with sourcing and securing the closure of a dual carriageway location in Trafford Park for night driving scenes. This area of Greater Manchester is a popular location for film crews and we were able to quickly identify a section of dual carriageway for the locations team to recce with the director. Once we’d received confirmation that they’d like to use the location, we were able to liaise very quickly with our key Film Friendly Partnership contacts at both Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Police to obtain the necessary approval.
“Our property consists of a large old house used for family holidays and a small cottage which we live in full time,” explains Eddie Cruickshank, a homeowner who lent his property to the ‘Safe House’ production. “During set design and construction was where we felt most involved,” he adds. “This is where the big decisions were made about what could or could not be done.”
“The trades, scene artists and craftspeople came from all over the country and all of them were concerned about respecting our property. Being a TV or film location may not be for everybody but based on our experience, it can be a lot of fun,” says Cruikshank. “There are often benefits to the community too, particularly in the accommodation and hospitality sectors.”
Our Productions Services Department assist all genres of production to film across England, outside of London, and for more on the work we do please visit – Creative England’s Production Services Department or follow the team on Twitter.