Liverpool - UK Screen Boom City
LIVERPOOL'S film and TV industry continues to boom as the city moves closer to becoming European Capital of Culture 2008.
New figures from the city council's Film Office - part of North West Vision - reveal they organised the equivalent of 632 days of filming during 2005 - beating the previous record of 612 days of filming in 2003.
Staff assisted with an incredible 182 productions last year, while the number of enquiries from producers rocketed by 38 percent to 250.
City Council leader Warren Bradley said: "Liverpool has a fantastic reputation within the film industry for providing great locations and expert support for film makers.
"As a result, we are seeing an unprecedented level of interest in using Liverpool for making television series and feature films.
"This is a growing industry which sustains jobs and supports many local businesses and it is vital that we do all we can to welcome film makers with open arms."
Productions shot in the city in 2005 included:
"Beyond Friendship" - A feature film starring Winona Ryder and Tom Conti about a friendship between a Jewish and an Arab man. The Brunswick Street area of the city centre was used to depict 1940's New York. Trials Hotel was used for interior shots.
"Karim's Story" - a TV drama for Channel Four shot in Garston Under the Bridge which will be a key element of their 2006 schedule.
"Eleventh Hour" - A sci-fi thriller for ITV Granada focusing on catastrophes caused by modern science, starring Patrick Stewart. Castle Street and Formby Beach were used for filming.
BBC One children's TV series "Grange Hill" and Channel Four's "Hollyoaks."
During the last 12 months, TV commercials for HP Sauce and Bisto were shot in the city, along with pop videos for The Coral, Ms Dynamite, Liz McLarnon and Natasha Hamilton.
And 2006 is getting off to an equally promising start, with filming now underway on "Across the Universe." It is a romantic musical set in the 1960's told through Beatles songs. Made by Revolution Films which is part of Columbia Pictures, it is the largest scale production ever shot in Liverpool with more than 150 extras are taking part in some of the scenes being shot in the docks area, Wavertree and New Brighton.
Film Office manager Lynn Saunders is delighted: "We've now earned a reputation as a film friendly city and every week we receive enquiries from producers both home and abroad.
"We are already dealing with some extremely promising enquiries from production companies and I am confident that the success will continue in 2006.
"We are in the process of placing our locations database online, which allows producers from around the world to see what Liverpool has to offer at the click of a mouse."
The Film Office estimates that hundreds of people were employed on productions, giving a multi million pound boost to the local economy and benefiting businesses such as hotels, taxi firms and caterers. Local spending on one of the productions totalled more than half a million pounds.
Alice Morrison, Chief Executive of North West Vision, the TV and film agency who works to promote Liverpool and the rest of the north west as a film location, added: "Liverpool is a world heritage city and has incredibly cinematic locations, so it is no surprise that film makers continue to descend on the city.
"Filming generates job opportunities and brings in inward investment, so it is important we continue looking at new ways to increase filming across the city."