Let's do the movies right here, says MP

The North-East can boast Get Carter, Billy Elliot, Harry Potter and even Alien 3 among its list of movie credits.

Film set of Atonement, Redcar

The North-East can boast Get Carter, Billy Elliot, Harry Potter and even Alien 3 among its list of movie credits.

But an MP is demanding more help from the Government in promoting the region as a place to do business - with ministers urged to name it as their number one movie location in the UK.

Sunderland's Fraser Kemp has challenged Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to start promoting the region - in particular Wearside - internationally as a film making location.

He said: "We know we have got great potential, Wearside in particular, but we have to make sure that when the Government promotes the country as a place for film locations, the North-East is at the top of their list.

It was not just about repeating the success of Get Carter, the 1970s film starring Michael Caine, said the Houghton and Washington West MP. It was about exploiting the creative talents of local people and the fantastic locations on offer.

"The opportunities are there, we just need to ensure that the North-East, and Wearside, are seen as places where people can come and do business.

"There is great potential, creative talent and brilliant locations. They are the essential ingredients in attracting major movies and that should be shouted about," he said.

Recently, the beaches of Redcar were turned into the 1940s beaches of Dunkirk for the filming of Atonement.

The region has also provided the backdrop for parts of Alien 3, filmed by South Shields-born Hollywood director Ridley Scott, Harry Potter, which used Alnwick Castle as Hogwarts School, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, also at Alnwick.

With an average audience of 72 million viewers for each major feature film, the market for the North-East as a whole is astounding, according to Northern Film & Media chief executive Tom Harvey.

"In terms of the cultural profile, it is vital that we have North-East voices and stories from these streets on small and big screens nationally and internationally," he said.

But it was essential that ministers and councils did all they could to make it easier, quicker and more cost effective for production companies to film in the region.

Attracting major Hollywood and UK films would reap huge benefits, with production companies spending £23,000 for every day they filmed in the region in 2004.

Tyne and Wear alone netted £4.9m in 2005, thanks to the film industry.

"It really does give the region kudos to feature in a film such as Harry Potter," said the man responsible for the North-East's "Passionate People, Passionate Places" campaign, Chris Lines.

"The onus though is as much on us to make sure we are shouting loudly about what we have up here as it is the Government to put the North-East on the international map," said Mr Lines, head of PR at regional development agency One NorthEast.

So will it be "From Wear to Eternity" in future? Yes, according to Chris Taylor, director of Newcastle production company Supercrush.

"We recently did four extremely different locations around Tyne and Wear in one day.

"Doing the same thing down in London would take you three. That's the great thing about the North-East."

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15 potential Wearside blockbusters

From Wear to Eternity

Cat on a Houghton Roof

Penshawshank Redemption

Chester-le-Street car named Desire

The Southwicker Man

Grangetown called Alice

Roker-back Mountain

Pennywells From Heaven

High Plains Farm Drifter

The Cruel Seaham

The Hetton-le-Hole Nine Yards

Millfield of Dreams

Rainton Man

Easington Rider

Bullet Proof Monkwearmouth

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