Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Titanic filming 'fell foul of cuts'

David Calder plays Captain Smith in the ITV1 drama about the Titanic (ITV/PA)

The new show about the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic was almost filmed in Belfast - the city where the ship was built - but the plan fell foul of Government cuts.

The ITV1 show's producer Nigel Stafford-Clark said he was "very keen" to make it in Northern Ireland after initially looking at filming in Dublin.

Speaking at a press conference in London ahead of the launch of the show, he said: "It just seemed absolutely right that we should do it in Belfast and not only that but the Paint Hall, which is the main Belfast film studio, is in fact the old paint hall of Harland and Wolff where Titanic was built.

"It's not the actual one that existed back in 1912 but it just felt like a real coming home and that nearly worked out but unfortunately in order to do it there we needed quite a sizeable grant to offset the tax deal that we would be getting in the Republic and we were, as so many people have been, a victim of the Government cuts.

"They just couldn't in the end. They offered us the money which was great but couldn't deliver it because they were told, or the grant-giving body in Northern Ireland was told, that their budget wasn't going to be set when it normally would be because obviously the Government had to go through all the various funding bodies and make sure that they could cover them with the cutbacks and we couldn't afford to wait.

"We were getting dangerously close to having to shoot so we had to look around for somewhere else and that's when we hit on Hungary."

The show has kept some Northern Irish links with some scenes set in the famous shipyard and characters including the yard's chairman, Lord Pirrie, among the characters brought to life in the show.

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