Recent weeks saw Sheffield more closely resembling Hollywood as parts of the city were taken over by film crews, as shooting got underway on a new series to air on Netflix. Teen skating drama “Zero Chill” employed city streets, with catering trucks appearing on Norfolk Road and filming taking place in the adjacent Cholera Monument Grounds and Clay Wood. As is only to be expected for an ice skating drama Pad Two at iceSheffield was transformed into the fictional Hammerstrom Ice Hockey Academy for the show, which Netflix says features a fully skating cast and is being shot in a ‘fluid camera style’ to make the audience feel like they are actually sharing the ice with the characters.
With filming expected to continue until late March, and the production involving a 100 locally based supporting artists, extras as well and cast and crew who are being housed in local hotels and apartments, the production represents a significant investment into the city.
But this is far from the first time that Sheffield and its distinctive architecture and landmark buildings have been used in blockbusting productions. In fact Sheffield prides itself on being a film friendly city, with Sheffield City Council actively promoting the area as a film-friendly destination, a heritage and culture-rich location, working with partners such as Screen Yorkshire and South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network to attract film makers.
Built on seven hills, and one of the greenest places in the UK Sheffield provides film makers with a showcase for the Peak District National Park together with a vibrant and evolving urban centre that includes award winning public spaces, brutalist architecture, heritage landmarks and innovative modern buildings.
The latest incarnation of the iconic traveller in space and time, Doctor Who swapped London and Cardiff for the Steel City, with the Grade II* listed Park Hill Estate just one of the city’s landmarks being used as a filming location. The building was also a significant location in the award winning productions “This is England 88” and “This is England 90”, spin offs from gritty British drama “This is England” (2006).
Sheffield has doubled for Belfast in thriller “’71” (2014) starring Jack O’Connell, who didn’t have to travel far from his home town of Derby, and Croydon in “How to Talk to Girls at Parties“ (2017) which starred Hollywood royalty Nicole Kidman.
The film version of Alan Bennett’s play “The History Boys” (2006) was set and filmed in Sheffield, as was satirical comedy “Four Lions” (2010) and “When Saturday Comes” (1996) features one of the city’s most famous sons Sean Bean, who portrays a drunken Sheffield brewery worker who gets picked up for a local non-league football team before being scouted by Sheffield United.
And last but not least, Sheffield itself is as much of a character as Gaz, Dave or Lomper in the hugely successful and much loved “The Full Monty” (1997), so much so that the premiere was quite rightly hosted in the city.
So the next time you’re visiting your local multiplex or indulging in the latest binge watch, keep your eyes peeled, the Steel City may well play a supporting role.