Making Bath a movie star

A romantic film drama shot in and around Bath with the help of Bath & North East Somerset Council, will be shown at an exclusive screening this weekend to launch a new initiative – the Bath Filming Partnership – aimed at capitalising on the city’s allure to film makers.

Unknown Heart – which will be broadcast in Germany at Easter – is the latest in a series of films based on the novels of best-selling author Rosamunde Pilcher, produced by London and Munich-based GATE TV and directed by Giles Foster, who was educated at Monkton Combe School.

Unknown Heart is the compelling emotional story of a woman whose heart transplant has left her physically healthy but emotionally estranged from her family. When the donor’s widower pays her a visit the two begin to fall in love

The star cast includes former Bath resident Jane Seymour, James Fox, Julian Sands and Greg Wise, and features many local landmarks. A thrilling sequence of a boat race was filmed on the Avon at Saltford and two local children- Charlie Schofield from Peasedown St John and Mimi Horn from Bradford on Avon – were cast by Foster in important roles.

Director Giles Foster pictured on the right whilst filming in Prior Park.
Director Giles Foster pictured on the right during filming in Prior Park.

“I am unashamedly romantic” says Giles Foster, the director, “and am drawn to strong stories of love and family life. Bath is such a seductive city that it forms the perfect backdrop for these tales.”

The exclusive screening, at Komedia on 19 January, will launch the new Bath Filming Partnership, a Bath & North East Somerset Council initiative that aims to develop Bath’s ‘film-friendly’ reputation and ensure that the region continues to benefit from filming activity.

Councillor Ben Stevens, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development said “The filming of TV dramas contributes considerable investment into the local economy, so Bath & North East Somerset Council is very happy to welcome Giles and his team back to Bath for the third time. They certainly know how to show our city off to its best advantage and are one of the reasons why the number of German visitors has increased.”

Actor, Julian Sands
Actor, Julian Sands

Foster added: “Filming in London is a nightmare. Here in Bath everything is near and we have established a great relationship with the Council’s Film Office. Add to that the wealth of good hotels and restaurants and it is easy to see why international casts from the States and Europe enjoy coming to Bath to work.

Foster won’t be drawn into detail but he has plans for future productions including a contemporary drama series and a major historical story.

Jane Seymour about to shoot a scene.
Jane Seymour about to shoot a scene.

He said: “My first film was a black and white fantasy shot in Bath while I was at Monkton Combe School. I have been coming back ever since and will continue to do so.

“As a teenager I fell in love with cinema watching wonderful films at The Little Theatre cinema. This screening is due to the kindness of Martin Jennings-Wright of the The Little Theatre and Lark Porter of Komedia. It is a childhood dream come true to have a film I directed in Bath on a Bath screen. Filming in Bath will always be close to my heart.”