T2 helps boost value of film industry to Edinburgh to nearly £8m

A three-month shoot across Edinburgh on the sequel to Trainspotting boosted the value of film and television productions to the Capital to its highest level since records began 26 years ago.

Wednesday, 25th January 2017, 11:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 6:45 am
A host of locations in Leith were deployed for T2 Trainspotting including the docks area.

The city’s film agency said the schedule on T2, which ran from May-July last year, was the most extensive ever in the area.

The long-awaited follow-up to the 1996 movie, which is released tomorrow, helped raise the value of the screen industry to £7.7 million after director Danny Boyle insisted most of the filming of T2 Trainspotting take place in the city.

The figure for Edinburgh and the Lothians was more than double what it was a decade ago and was also ten per cent up on 2015, when the area played host to extensive filming on American TV show Outlander.

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Scenes at Sick Boy's flat in Leith were filmed at a development on Sailmaker Road.

Edinburgh Airport, the Forth Road Bridge, Holyrood Park, the Scottish Parliament building, the Royal Mile and Grassmarket were all deployed for the filming of T2, which is released on Friday.

However the filmmakers also won special permission to shoot inside both Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Saughton Prison, as well as on Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses vehicles.

The Castle Terrace car park, the Cav Edinburgh nightclub, Harvey Nichols department store and tower blocks in Craigmillar can also be seen.

The new figures, compiled by the Film Edinburgh commission, which handles inquiries from production companies, includes all films, TV shows and adverts made last year. They are based on direct spending on staff, facilities, location hires and accommodation.

Danny Boyle spent three months making T2 Trainspotting in Edinburgh last summer.

However they do not include lucrative spin-offs for the tourism industry. The Evening News revealed last year that Trainspotting was being embraced by VisitScotland for the first time as part of a new “dark tourism” drive.

Edinburgh also played host to filming of the feature film Churchill, with leading Scottish actor Brian Cox; The Wife, which stars Hollywood actress Glenn Close; and a Bollywood feature film, Tum Bin 2.

There was more filming on the second and third series of Outlander, including an extensive shoot at Craigmillar Castle, and a lengthy spell for a forthcoming six-part BBC drama series, Clique, which is set at Edinburgh University.

Speaking at the premiere, Boyle said he, author Irvine Welsh and screenwriter John Hodge had spent a week in Edinburgh to thrash out a story and explore how the city had changed in the 20 years since the previous film was made. He added: “We sat together, we met people and chatted about what we were going to do with the film.

The T2 Trainspotting production team on location in Holyrood Park.

“We had a house near the Castle. We went to a boxing club and went to a lot of football games. There is still poverty and deprivation in Edinburgh, yet it is in the middle of this increasingly vibrant city. Irvine’s stories are so particular about the city.”

Film Edinburgh manager Rosie Ellison said: “Having started working with the T2 production team in October 2015, we knew 2016 was going to be a big year but the results are simply inspiring. The stature and calibre of productions now

using the area as their backdrop is having a positive impact on filming and led to us celebrating a record-breaking year for filming productions.

“The massive jump in economic value is a direct result of productions choosing to be based here rather than simply using Edinburgh as a short-term location backdrop.

Scenes at Sick Boy's flat in Leith were filmed at a development on Sailmaker Road.

"Each year, the film offering in Edinburgh strengthens with more productions appreciating the extent of what the city can offer as a diverse filming location – beautiful scenery is only the start of it.

“The next step to secure our future development and success would be the investment in Edinburgh film studio facilities.

"This remains critical in strengthening the city’s filming offering and reputation as a film-friendly city, allowing more companies to choose Edinburgh as a filming base.”

Gavin Barrie, economic development leader at Edinburgh City Council said: “Edinburgh is now well and truly on the map for movie makers.

"Our cobbled streets, historic properties and beautiful green spaces set the scene for hundreds of films and TV productions every year.

"We were one of the first cities in the UK to adopt a film charter and it is great to see the city increasingly recognised as ‘film friendly’ and for our economy to reap the rewards. The more we can do to showcase our stunning city and bring new visitors the better.”

Danny Boyle spent three months making T2 Trainspotting in Edinburgh last summer.


Edinburgh is one of the main stars of the new film. Here’s what to look out for, so if you don’t want to know anything about T2, look away now…

Edinburgh Airport: Renton arrives back home for the first time in 20 years.

Edinburgh tram: A lot has changed since Ewan McGregor’s character was last in Edinburgh.

Saughton Prison: Begbie’s home for the 20 years since the previous film.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary: Begbie has treatment.

St Stephen’s Church, Stockbridge: Spud opens up on his troubled personal life in drug rehab.

Holyrood Park/Arthur's Seat: Renton takes Spud on a run.

Calton Road: Spud sees visions of the past as he emerges from a workout at his new gym.

Scottish Parliament: The Holyrood complex stands in as the City Chambers for a planning hearing.

Busy Bee, Saughton: Renton and Sick Boy run into trouble.

The Cav nightclub: Renton has another uncomfortable experience in a toilet cubicle.

Old Town streets and closes: A chase scene.

Castle Terrace car park: Renton embarks on a dramatic escape bid.

Harvey Nichols: Renton’s updated “Choose Life” rant.

Wolf & Water bar, Leith: Renton, Sick Boy and Veronika’s fashionable waterfront hang-out.

Waverley Gate: Creative Scotland’s headquarters stands in for the law firm where Renton’s old flame Diane now works.

Central Bar, Leith Walk: Some of the scenes in Sick Boy’s bar “Port Sunshine” were filmed here.

Sailmaker Road, Leith: Setting for Sick Boy’s trendy docklands flat, overlooking a scrapyard.

Marine Drive, Leith: Renton and Sick Boy’s business ventures catch up with them as they are picked up for an unexpected rendezvous.

Forth Road Bridge: Renton and Sick Boy are faced with a long walk back into the city.

Montpelier Park, Bruntsfield: Setting for Veronika’s flat.

The T2 Trainspotting production team on location in Holyrood Park.