Outlander helps double value of Scotland's film & TV productions

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have been filming Outlander in Scotland for more than three years.

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have been filming Outlander in Scotland for more than three years.

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The value of film and television production to Scotland has almost doubled in the space of four years - to more than £50 million for the first time.

Filming on the American TV series Outlander is thought to be largely responsible for the surge since it started shooting in the autumn of 2013.

Locations in Skye and Orkney were used for the filming of The BFG.

Locations in Skye and Orkney were used for the filming of The BFG.

However feature films like The BFG, Tommy’s Honour and Whisky Galore also helped boost the tally to a record £52.7 million for 2015, up 15 per cent on the previous 12 months.

That compares to the £27 million that was generated by film and television productions in 2012 - before the vast studio complex for Outlander was created in a former warehouse in Cumbernauld.

National arts agency Creative Scotland today said it expected “a further and significant increase” to be recorded for 2016 thanks to feature films like T2, the Trainspotting sequel, and Churchill, a new big-screen biopic starring Brian Cox.

Filming on the second series of Outlander, which has used locations across Scotland, began in April 2015 and production is already underway at the Lanarkshire site on a third.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This record spend shows that all eyes are on Scotland as the ideal place to base production. Our uniquely beautiful rural areas to bustling urban cityscapes provide excellent backdrops and our highly skilled crews are in hot demand.

“2015 has been a record year and I am determined to keep working with our agencies to support and grow Scotland’s screen sector.

Natalie Usher, director of screen at Creative Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to see that the production spend figures published today show a significant increase on previous years. This proves that Scotland’s talent, crews, facilities and award winning locations continue to be of huge attraction to major international productions.

“In the last year we have seen Sony Starz maintain their commitment to a large scale production base at Cumbernauld, we welcomed Jason Connery’s feature film Tommy’s Honour, and it was great to see our wonderful capital city double for Victorian London in the landmark BBC series, The Secret Agent.”

Rosie Ellison, manager of Film Edinburgh, said: “We saw a 50 per cent increase in the economic impact from film and TV productions in 2015 with £7 million invested in the local economy by productions.

“This came largely from a record-breaking number of high-value productions choosing to shoot in the region including The Secret Agent, One Of Us, Tommy’s Honour and Outlander.”