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Meet the sisters keeping the city on our screens – and looking for more Liverpool locations to put in the film and TV spotlight

10 months ago

Meet the sisters keeping the city on our screens – and looking for more Liverpool locations to put in the film and TV spotlight
Picture credit - Kerry Spicer for The Location Guide

Liverpool Locations is ran by sisters Faye and Claire and has helped some of the biggest movies and TV shows filmed in the city find those perfect scene back drops.

With more than 40 years’ experience in the film and TV industry, sisters Faye and Claire Newton have taken a starring role when it comes to putting the city in the spotlight.

They’ve worked on a host of blockbuster films like Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law, and top TV dramas like Stephen Poliakoff’s Close to the Enemy, Sky’s Funny Woman, and Peaky Blinders, finding the ideal locations that help bring each one to life.

“It’s the architecture that makes Liverpool such a great city to film in,” says Faye. “There are so many places where you can cheat New York, London, and Moscow.”

Now as well as locating the perfect places to provide the backdrops to so many superb screen creations, they are expanding their search with a shout out to the city: “We are always looking for ‘time capsules’ that people might know about, those hidden gems that might be perfect for a ‘60s drama, or a warehouse someone might have that’d be great for filming.”

Liverpool Locations - The Guide Liverpool
On location at Toxteth Reservoir with Hollyoaks

And they are offering support for young hopefuls wanting to get a foot in the door of this competitive career.

“We understand more than most what a tricky industry it is to get into, but we were helped when we started out,” says Faye, “and now we want to give something back.”

Both sisters, from Mossley Hill, had successful independent careers before setting up Liverpool Locations, which finds and manages locations for films, TV and commercials, in 2015.

Claire, 45, was the first to begin her career after getting work experience on the Liverpool 1 crime drama series while undertaking her media degree.

And she got Faye, 40, a job as a runner on a gangster film, Dot Kill, before she started her business and management degree. Needless to say, both were hooked.

They worked independently as location scouts and managers across the UK before setting up the business together: “We’d worked all over the country but it’s long hours because the locations people are the first there and last to leave,” explains Faye. “Claire has now got two boys and I have two boys, and we thought it would be nicer to be closer to home – the hours aren’t as long when you’re travelling back to your own house, and it’s lovely to be back with family.

“Plus there’s so much going on in Liverpool.

“It’s one of the busiest cities for filming in the UK with so much happening, and it’s definitely got a good vibe as a film-friendly city, so people are excited.

“The Film Office is amazing in wanting to make things work, so things can be turned around really quickly, and we have a good reputation and relationship with them.”

Liverpool Locations - The Guide Liverpool
Filming at St George’s Hall

Faye has a collection of film-friendly favourites across Liverpool:

* St Martin’s Bank in Water Street (although that’s now being developed) whose old vaults and banking hall have provided settings for productions like Funny Woman, Close to the Enemy, and the ITV drama The Ipcress File.

* Birkenhead Tunnel in which Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and Fast and Furious 6 was filmed.

* Toxteth Reservoir in Dingle.

* St George’s Hall – where The Batman, Peaky Blinders and Fantastic Beasts have been filmed in recent years.

* The Docks areas – Peaky Blinders, Captain America starring Chris Evans and Sherlock Holmes were both filmed there – ‘and The Silo is also a favourite, although it’s being used to store grain at the moment’ says Faye, of Tate & Lyle’s sugar silo, a Grade II listed building in Huskisson Dock in Bootle.

“And I love The Adelphi Hotel, it’s an unbelievable building, from the reception to the grand entrance area to the rooms, there are some gorgeous wood-panelled rooms,” smiles Faye.

“Being from Liverpool, we know it so well and, between us, Claire and I have a huge database.  I get excited when I get a script and think there’s about 80% where I know I’m going to go for in terms of location, and maybe 20% where I wonder if it exists…

“And we are always finding gems.”

Liverpool Locations - The Guide Liverpool
Claire and Faye Newton Liverpool Locations

But that doesn’t mean Faye and Claire aren’t looking for more.

“We Google and we drive around, and we chat to local people,” says Faye. “We’ll do letter drops through people’s doors to say we are looking for a certain interior and ask if they’d be interested.

“And we are always looking for more so if people would be happy for their house to be used we can add it to our database, or they may know of places they think would make a great film location, so we’d ask them to contact us with pictures.”

It’s an exciting world which has given Faye and Claire an amazing career and, now, business but it can be difficult into.

“There is huge demand and we are always getting emails from people asking us how they can get into it, which is why for the last 12 years we have invited people to spend a day doing work experience with us. We had so much help and it’s our way of giving something back.”

They are also offering short courses, from location assistant to stand-by props, to a general introduction to film and TV.

“It’s helping to bridge that gap between work experience and getting a job, and offering helpful skills and knowledge we wish we’d had when we were starting out,” says Faye.

“And might expand the number of people from the city who are becoming involved in film for which we’re getting such a reputation.

“If someone is interested in the job, it will give them an insight.”

If you want to find out more information about the courses or you think you know an ideal location, contact Faye and Claire at hello@liverpoollocations.com

Follow all of the Liverpool Locations action on Instagram HERE.

Get the latest film news for Liverpool HERE.

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