Ian Beattie hails Game of Thrones for putting Northern Ireland on global movie map
A Belfast-born star of Game of Thrones is so proud that it is filmed in Northern Ireland that he intends to go on the show's tourist trail around the country.
Ian Beattie, who plays Ser Meryn Trant, said he is planning on doing the Game Of Thrones tour that has drawn thousands of tourists here. He said HBO had done Northern Ireland "a huge favour".
"It has done wonders for the Northern Irish film industry and it has shown the world that Northern Ireland has some of the best crew, some of the best actors and some of the best locations in the world," he said.
"I think over the next five or six years Northern Ireland can truly become a centre of excellence in film and television-making and that is really good for all of us."
Beattie was one of the stars who hit the red carpet for the world premiere of the bloodthirsty fantasy's fifth series at the Tower of London last night. The fortress is famed for its ravens - an important symbol in the show in which the power-hungry characters battle for the Iron Throne. But Alfie Allen, who plays tortured Theon Greyjoy in the TV phenomenon, had Northern Ireland on his mind.
"I love the accent. I just love the coastline you know. We filmed a lot on the coastline," he said. "If Northern Ireland had better weather, it would be like New Zealand. It's an immensely beautiful country."
The actor said "long may it continue" that the show films scenes in Northern Ireland.
Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, said it is "a joy" to be involved in the show and said the fact Northern Ireland plays a key role is a "win win for everybody".
He added: "There's a huge dividend. There's huge amounts of people being employed up there on the back of this and all the other shows and there's no reason why it shouldn't continue and long may it continue."
HBO bosses David Benioff and Dan Weiss revealed they'd like it to go on for at least seven seasons.