More than 150 Tyneside youngsters were given a sneak preview of their favourite TV show, Wolfblood, at a special screening in Gateshead on Saturday 05 October.
The hit CBBC supernatural drama, which is filmed in Gateshead, tells the story of teenage werewolves Maddy Smith, played by Aimee Kelly, and Rhydian Morris, played by Bobby Lockwood, as they struggle living their double lives and keeping their secret concealed from the outside world.
As well as meeting their on-screen idol, Rhydian, in person the children got to watch a soon-to-be-aired episode of Wolfblood followed by a tour of the film set at the event, organised by Northern Film & Media with the support of the BBC.
Gayle Woodruffe, production service manager at Northern Film and Media, says the filming of Wolfblood and the recent recommissioning of Dumping Ground secures a long tradition of excellence in children’s production in the region.
“Once you get the film crews out of London and up here it’s easy,” she said. “The North East is such a diverse region.
“Once they’re here crews find they can move around easy. In less than 20 minutes from Newcastle city centre you can be at the beach, in a castle, shipyard or a field.
“It’s perfect for filming, it’s all about convincing companies that it doesn’t take seven hours to get here on a train!”
Wolfblood is currently filming its second series in Gateshead, while the cast of Dumping Ground, a spin-off from the hugely popular Story of Tracy Beaker and Tracy Beaker Returns, is about to film its first series at the same location.
The well-loved show is a feather in the region’s TV production cap, says Gayle, but attracting film crews this far north, hasn’t always been easy.
“Today is a celebration of CBBC being here and it’s great to show the children an episode ahead of transmission,” said Gayle. “CBBC does seem to have a commitment to the region at the minute.
“However, it’s not long since Wire in the Blood was axed and we lost Byker Grove too.
“For a long time there was no production up here but that’s slowly building up over time.
“I do know that the production teams use local people as much as they can.
“Around 80% to 85% of the crew are from the region and that’s important for jobs and the economy up here.”
Ruth Lognonne, Trinity Mirror
(Photography: Mark Chapman)
This is an edited version of a piece by Ruth Lognonne, originally published in the Sunday Sun and The Chronicle online. Reproduced by kind permission of Trinity Mirror plc.