April 13, 2023

By Charlotte Wood

The South West is fast becoming a prominent region for filming, with Bristol expanding its offer to industry through further stage development at the Bottle Yard Studios (TBY2), and the recently established Patchway Studios accommodating productions.

It’s no wonder Bristol-based production company, Sid Wild (production arm of Sid Gentle Films) chose to film their new eight-part BBC/HBO drama series Rain Dogs predominantly in the city. The dark comedy, written and produced by the talented Cash Carraway, follows West Country born, Daisy May Cooper (This Country) as Costello Jones. Cooper’s character navigates the difficulties of a struggling single mother and her dysfunctional family dynamic with privileged and flamboyant best friend, Selby played by Jack Farthing (Poldark).

Rain Dogs, HBO/BBC © BBC/Sid Gentle Films/HBO/Photographer: Simon Ridgway

Filming on Location in Bristol

Almost 80 locations in Bristol were used in the production and 70% of the crew were South West based. Senior Film Manager, Laura Aviles at Bristol Film Office and The Bottle Yard Studios endorses the fantastic filming infrastructure the city has to offer to productions:

“Bristol continues to punch well above its weight as a filming destination for High End TV drama. The fact that a company of Sid Gentle’s calibre established their first out-of-London arm in Bristol is a ringing endorsement for the filming infrastructure the city offers, supported by our Film Office and Bottle Yard teams. The release of Rain Dogs, the first title made under the Sid Wild arm, on HBO and the BBC marks yet another prime time drama made in Bristol and enjoyed the world over.”

Rain Dogs, HBO/BBC © BBC/Sid Gentle Films/HBO/Photographer: Simon Ridgway

The West of England Offer to Productions

The infrastructure to accommodate filming in the surrounding areas to Bristol has also progressed, with film office development in North Somerset, further strengthening the West of England offer. The production filmed on location in the area and Jane Harrison, Head of Economy at North Somerset Council is keen to highlight the economic benefits that filming can bring to the area:

“We were pleased to welcome the Rain Dogs production team to North Somerset. Our landmarks and scenery have long been used as locations for some of the nation’s best loved films and TV shows. Having seen the economic benefits that filming can bring into the area, we officially launched a registered film office and accompanying new website last year. We pride ourselves on being film-friendly and would encourage production companies to consider North Somerset.”

Rain Dogs also filmed on location in the wider North East Somerset area of Chew Valley covered by Bath Film Office. The Bath Film Office is a long-established film office service in the region, managing and promoting Bath and North East Somerset as a filming location. Bath is famous for its stunning Georgian architecture, period properties and iconic historic venues. The rural countryside of North East Somerset also provides further landscapes for production.

Local Authority Engagement in the South West

The Filming in England team at Creative England continue to strengthen the filming facilitation offer in the English regions, and works with a network of regional and national partners, to provide comprehensive production liaison support to HETV and Feature Film productions looking to film on location. Charlotte Wood, Production Liaison Manager for the South West region at Creative England has seen an increase in local authority engagement:

“The level of engagement from local authorities in the South West has had a huge increase. Councils in the region are developing film application processes, establishing a dedicated point of contact, recognising the economic importance of hosting filming in their area and the positive impact productions bring to the local tourism offer. Creative England continues to deliver ongoing support to local authorities through our flagship Filming in England Summit event, partnership and filming facilitation resources and networks.”

Rain Dogs, HBO/BBC © BBC/Sid Gentle Films/HBO/Photographer: James Pardon

Filming in England Partnership

Creative England launched the Filming in England Partnership in October 2020. Created with our Film Office partners as founding members, including Bristol and Bath Film Offices. The Partnership connects organisations ranging from local authorities, locations, facilities, and studios to national organisations to help create a film-friendly environment for Film and TV productions. Through this diverse Partnership network, we aim to support and promote our members to maximise opportunities, building long-term beneficial relationships between industry and member organisations.

In November 2022, Creative England’s Filming in England Team launched its Regional Filming Hubs, an important next step of the Filming in England Partnership. All Four Regional Filming Hubs, including the South West, are comprised of a refined group of local partners to bring their knowledge, experience and vision to strengthen England’s film-friendly production environment.

The Film and TV industry in the UK continues to thrive, with recent statistics from the British Film Institute revealing a record £6.27 billion was spent from Feature Film and High-End TV Production in the UK in 2022. The sector plays a significant role in the UK’s creative industries economy, with the UK being widely regarded as one of the most desirable locations for the film and TV industry. The production boom shows no signs of slowing down, offering unparalleled opportunities for the English regions, which are in high demand like never before.

Rain Dogs premiered on HBO and is now available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

For more information on the South West Film Offices featured and The Bottle Yard Studios please visit: Bristol Film Office, TBYS, North Somerset Film Office and Bath Film Office.

To find out more about Creative England’s Filming in England Partnership visit HERE and for all other enquiries please visit: