Bath will be playing a starring role on our television screens twice over the Christmas period.
Two of the BBC’s most popular ‘Christmas Specials’ will feature the city, with filming carried out with the help of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Film Office.
On Christmas Day, BBC One will be broadcasting the ‘Christmas Day Service Live from Bath Abbey’. The service will be led by The Revd Edward Mason, Rector of the Abbey, and Revd Claire Robson. There will be a performance from the children’s choir Melody Makers and the Abbey’s Boys, Girls and Men’s Choirs will lead the congregation in a number of well-known Christmas Carols.
An outside broadcast of this size always comes with a large array of technical kit and the Film Office have been working with Parking Services, Highways and Property Services to ensure the production can safely access the Abbey and broadcast what promises to be a spectacular service.
On New Year’s Day BBC One will be screening its long awaited Victorian version of Sherlock. The episode, entitled ‘The abominable Bride’, features a spectacular scene filmed earlier this year in Queen Street, Bath.
When Steven Moffat, show creator and executive producer was asked if there were any challenges to making this Victorian version he said “We instantly had the problem of period settings and so on, whereas before we just turned the camera on and pointed it at London. We couldn’t do that here.”
The Council’s Film Office was contacted by the production when they were scouting for suitable locations in the West of England. The Film Office with Highways and Parking services then ensured that the road closure in Queen Street, set dressing and parking requirements all proceeded smoothly.
The filming attracted substantial crowds, who waited to get a glimpse of the programme’s stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Ben Mangam, Location Manager for the series said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to bring ‘Sherlock’ to Bath. Bath is one of my go to places when filming period pieces, with its eye catching architecture it is a city that just shines on screen. Combined with first rate film officers and a film friendly council – it’s one to revisit time and time again. Thank you Bath!”
Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “It’s wonderful to see Bath in the spotlight once again with both programmes expected to draw large audiences. The Film Office has strived to minimise the impact of filming on local residents who I’d like to thank for their patience. It has been a busy year for staff in the Film Office, who have worked hard at boosting the economic benefits of filming through initiatives such as the recently launched Film Friendly Partnership, which showcases local businesses to productions filming in the area.”
You can watch the Christmas Day Service Live from Bath Abbey on BBC One at 10am on Christmas Day.
Sherlock: ‘The Abominable Bride’ will be screened on BBC One at 9pm on New Year’s Day.