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Hullywood: Why the film industry has taken a shine to Hull's Old Town
Hullywood: Why the film industry has taken a shine to Hull's Old Town
25 October, 2021

The cobbled streets and historic buildings of Hull’s Old Town were recently the backdrop for Enola Holmes 2 – the next instalment of the hit Netflix franchise.

Enola Holmes 2 was the latest in a string of productions to have been shot in Hull following the likes of The Personal History of David Copperfield and ITV’s Victoria.

Hull’s historic backdrop, streets and buildings make it an ideal location to film scenes set in the Victorian era, with only the names and frontages of a selection of pubs, restaurants and offices requiring a slight makeover before stars such as Millie Bobby Brown, Peter Capaldi, Dev Patel and Henry Cavill rolled into town.

Chris Hordley, production liaison and development manager at Screen Yorkshire, said: “Hull’s Old Town is a true gem in Yorkshire and Humber’s filming location portfolio. Its beautifully preserved period streets and historic architecture are a big pull for the producers and directors we work with. 

“This has landed major film and TV projects from Netflix, BBC, ITV and Film 4 in the city. Hull is the perfect on-screen double for period London – when we combine this with Yorkshire’s talented crew, regional content funding, a growing studio infrastructure and film-friendly credentials we have the perfect package to attract high-calibre productions to the region.”

The emergence of Hull as an attractive film location has not happened by chance. The city’s local authority has proactively looked to land these big projects and allow the local economy to benefit. For example, unlike many cities and locations, Hull does not charge for filming permits.

Hull City Council aims to be a one-stop shop for filming companies, offering assistance with road closures, parking, filming permissions, resident and property engagement and site sourcing.

Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council and portfolio holder for tourism and economic investment, said: “Enticing some of the biggest hitters from the film and television industry is incredibly beneficial for our city and our region.

“Firstly, these productions show our city in its best light and showcase it on a global scale. The recognition and kudos that this can bring to a city, especially somewhere like Hull that is often overlooked or misrepresented, is invaluable.

“There are also the obvious economic benefits that large productions bring. Hotels, restaurants and food vendors, as well as various contractors and trades, can all benefit from the sudden influx of cast and crew, as well as from fans keen to get a glimpse of sets or their favourite actors.

“Many places in the UK charge for filming permits but, because we are so keen to bring these productions to Hull and allow our local businesses to benefit, we don’t. In fact, our approach is quite the opposite, we invite and encourage people to film here and offer to assist them in any way we can.”