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Game of Thrones to begin filming fifth season in Northern Ireland: Two more seasons confirmed

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Game of Thrones
King Joffrey and his smirk of contempt are back
HBO

Game of Thrones King Joffrey and his smirk of contempt are back HBO

Game of Thrones
Arya remains under the watch of the The Hound
HBO

Game of Thrones Arya remains under the watch of the The Hound HBO

Game of Thrones
Jaime and Cersai in heated discussions
HBO

Game of Thrones Jaime and Cersai in heated discussions HBO

HBO has defended graphic scenes of sex and violence in fantasy epic Game of Thrones

HBO has defended graphic scenes of sex and violence in fantasy epic Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Oberyn with Ellaria, mother of the four youngest Sand Snakes
HBO

Game of Thrones Oberyn with Ellaria, mother of the four youngest Sand Snakes HBO

Game of Thrones
Tyrion and Shae have words
HBO

Game of Thrones Tyrion and Shae have words HBO

The battle for the wall: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) continues to fight the Wildlings in the Game of Thrones Season 4

The battle for the wall: Jon Snow (Kit Harington) continues to fight the Wildlings in the Game of Thrones Season 4

© HBO

Game of Thrones
Sansa and Tyrion have a heart-to-heart
HBO

Game of Thrones Sansa and Tyrion have a heart-to-heart HBO

Game of Thrones
The Hound strides the fields in heavy armour
HBO

Game of Thrones The Hound strides the fields in heavy armour HBO

 Dragon lady: Emilia Clarke

Dragon lady: Emilia Clarke

Game of Thrones
Daario will be a new arrival in season 4
HBO

Game of Thrones Daario will be a new arrival in season 4 HBO

Game of Thrones
Tywin wearing the Hand of the King brooch
HBO

Game of Thrones Tywin wearing the Hand of the King brooch HBO

Game of Thrones
Ygritte and Tormund prepare for battle
HBO

Game of Thrones Ygritte and Tormund prepare for battle HBO

Game of Thrones
Sam, a steward of the Night's Watch
HBO

Game of Thrones Sam, a steward of the Night's Watch HBO

Game of Thrones
Margaery and Olenna in the courtyard
HBO

Game of Thrones Margaery and Olenna in the courtyard HBO

Game of Thrones King Joffrey and his smirk of contempt are back HBO

Fantasy epic Game of Thrones is set begin filming once again in Northern Ireland as the company behind the show confirmed two new seasons.

The announcement was welcomed by both the First and deputy First Ministers today.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: "Securing the fifth series of Game of Thrones, HBO’s largest drama production in Europe, will generate in excess of £20million annually to the Northern Ireland economy.

"When in Los Angeles in March we met with Jay Roewe, Senior VP Production, HBO Films & Mini Series to confirm the Executive’s desire to build on our established working relationship with HBO and explore mutually beneficial opportunities."

The team behind Game of Thrones have confirmed they will make two more series of the bloodthirsty fantasy show.

The epic tale of treachery among a series of families vying for power in a medieval-style world is currently on its fourth series - shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Michael Lombardo, president of US broadcaster HBO Programming, who make the show, said it was " a phenomenon like no other" and said the cast and crew " continue to surpass themselves".

He said: "W e look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling."

The series, filmed on location around the world including Scotland and Northern Ireland, is based on the best-selling books by George RR Martin.

Familiar faces in the current cast include Lena Headey, Charles Dance, Aidan Gillen and Diana Rigg.

The premiere of the new series was watched by an average of 6.6 million people in the US with 1 million tuning in in the UK.

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Belfast Telegraph