Mark Addy and Tara Fitzgerald are just two of the big movie stars in town filming for a brand new £1.6 million production.
Whitby and the surrounding area forms the set for much of the film called ‘The Runaways’, with the Whalebones and 199 steps among the locations set to feature in a six-week shoot.
The crew will also be pitching up on the beach, at Runswick Bay and at the train stations at Grosmont and Goathland as they make the movie.
Producer, Mark Thomas, explained why the area has been chosen as the location for much of the set. He said: “We all love Whitby, we have a huge amount of warmth towards Whitby and we hope that will come out in the film that this is a great place to come on holiday and to live.”
The crew had only been in town for a short amount of time before calling in for a serving of Whitby’s famous fish and chips. “There was a big crew eat out on Saturday where we had fish and chips and we will be doing so again,” said Mr Thomas, who has worked in the film business for 24 years.
He added: “Huge praise has to go to director/writer Richard Heap whose unique screenplay evokes a range of emotions from laughter to tears. With a home grown cast and crew, original, quirky storyline and the magnificent backdrop of the Yorkshire countryside, this is the sort of filmmaking that the British film industry is renowned for around the world and which I’m proud to be involved with.”
Janet Deacon, tourism manager for Scarborough Council and area director for Welcome to Yorkshire said that such productions are vital to boosting the profile of Whitby. She said: “Film tourism is extremely important to the local economy, not only because of the spend derived during production from the crew and cast but also because of the high profile publicity and destination coverage the films and TV programmes provide. Screen exposure can have a rapid impact on destinations inducing tourist visits when film and TV production is released.
“To date this year alone we have co-ordinated in excess of 50 enquiries from TV and film crews for the Yorkshire Coast”.
‘The Runaways’ is the uplifting and atmospheric story of three young siblings who after their father’s death decide to run away in order to evade social services so they can remain together. They embark on a hazardous journey in search of their estranged mother, rescuing the donkeys from the family’s donkey ride business along the way.
The film is ultimately a celebration of childhood and the importance of home and family ties. It is expected to be in cinemas in mid May 2018.
Other stars include Lee Boardman and rising young actress Molly Windsor, who recently starred in the BBC drama Three Girls.
Mr Thomas added that the crew are very friendly and would welcome people coming to say hello if you spot them out and about, with the possibility to feature as an extra in some scenes.
They respectfully request that people are patient and do not interfere with the set while filming is taking place.”
This is not the first major production to be shot in the area. Earlier this year, the Gazette broke the story that Daniel Day-Lewis was filming in Lythe and Robin Hood’s Bay, a story that attracted national newspaper attention.