Preparing a safe return to filming in the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean has a very mixed economy with 48 business parks providing office, industrial and warehousing space. Two of its strengths, manufacturing and tourism, are at the opposite end of the spectrum for a safe return to work. Both could learn from the approaches proposed by the British Film Council to enable filming to recommence across the UK and new locations found.

Through the lockdown many District manufacturing companies have continued working with skeleton staff. Tourism has of course been banned with only a promise of a future reopening date in July. Now all businesses need to look at the specific government guidance to seize new opportunities.

TV and Film Companies

The Forest of Dean has provided a unique backdrop for many films and TV productions including: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Killing Eve and Sex Education. So, it’s no surprise that Charlotte Wood, the Production Liaison Officer (South West) from Creative England has been in touch.

She reported that with many national partners they are working with the British Film Council (BFC) to help the film & TV industry get safely back to work.  A draft Code of Practice is currently out for consultation. This will be presented to Government and UK Health Authorities.  The BFC want the Covid-19 Codes of Practice to be ready by the end of May. Industry website Deadline has published key messages from the emerging codes and how they could apply.

As well as the BFC Codes of Practice, there will also be guidance for smaller productions from the main broadcasters, British Film Institute and the Advertising Producers Association (for commercials).  Together this should help clarify:

  • the operational challenges for cast and crew members travelling to sets in the Forest of Dean and
  • how to resolve practical issues of catering services and accommodation needs.

Filming Locations Needed

Since lockdown in mid-March, a number of Forest attractions and film hot-spots have lost out on bookings as film schedules have been cancelled due to the Covid-19.  As more people are returning to work there is a glimmer of hope that the TV and film industry are re-booting their plans.  On 12th May, Helen O’Kane from Puzzlewood reported a welcome increase in location enquiries.

FEP would like to encourage any Forest business who wants to make their land or property available for filming to get in touch with Creative England.  Simply register your space here. You will need plenty of good quality, high resolution photographs of your site available in .jpg format to complete the registration process. This way more of us can safely get back to work