From TV murder mysteries and sweeping historical dramas to Hollywood blockbuster movies, East Lothian, with its beautiful scenery and historic buildings, has been used as a backdrop for more than 80 film and TV productions in recent years.

A new agreement between East Lothian Council and Film Edinburgh is now reinforcing partner agencies’ commitment to accommodating filming in the county whenever possible.

The new Film Charter for East Lothian Council updates an agreement that has been in place for a number of years between the council and Film Edinburgh, which was set up to market East Lothian, Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders as a filming location, to facilitate the filming process and monitor the resulting economic impact.

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Council’s Spokesperson for Environment, Economic Development and Tourism, said: “The collaborative work that has been carried out in the past few years between the council and Film Edinburgh, as well as essential partner agencies such as Police Scotland, has brought some wonderful productions to East Lothian; from The Railway Man movie with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, and Mary Queen of Scots with Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, to the Outlander TV series and the Outlaw King and, most recently, the Apple TV series The Buccaneers and Agatha Christie’s Murder is Easy, which was filmed in Tyninghame.”

“Beautiful locations seen on film and TV can bring tangible benefits to an area, from the local spending by film crews at the time to the increase in tourism that comes about due to people wanting to visit the places where their favourite films and dramas have been filmed.

“I’m really pleased that we have renewed this charter, which helps make East Lothian even more attractive as a filming location and helps ease the process for council staff and the filmmakers.”

The charter includes agreed procedures between council departments, filmmakers and other agencies to minimise the impact on workload as well as identifying key personnel as dedicated points of contact for filming requests. It states that all services and officials will be as cooperative as possible in dealing with requests.

One of the main areas of interaction between filmmakers and public services is when exterior filming involves traffic management. This can involve liaison between the council, Police Scotland, utilities companies and the emergency services. The charter helps to streamline the processes required for this. It also provides police liaison for the staging of crimes, accidents or the use of firearms.

Rosie Ellison from Film Edinburgh said: “East Lothian’s new Film Charter and accompanying Code of Practice is a welcome tool in East Lothian’s bid to attract film and TV productions to the region, demonstrating the council’s commitment to supporting filming. Film Edinburgh is delighted to support the council in this, helping productions find perfect locations, guiding them through procedures and making connections to stakeholders in a timely manner. Film Edinburgh was set up as Scotland’s first Film Office in 1990 and has been working with East Lothian Council for over 20 years, supporting over 550 film and TV shoots in the region, including more than 80 feature films and TV dramas – with a combined direct spend from productions in East Lothian of £8million.”

Murder is Easy will be aired on Wednesday 27 December.

Published: Wednesday, 20th December 2023