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Oak Bay gets starring role in TV series
Cameras will roll in January as Oak Bay becomes home to the American remake of the British crime drama, Broadchurch.
The remake by Fox Television, titled Gracepoint, is also the name of the fictional town where the show is set. In the British version, the death of a child has occurred and the entire season is spent finding the killer.
The American version will include many of the same cast and crew of the British series, including lead actor David Tennant, best known for his role on the television show, Dr. Who. Also starring is actress Anna Gunn, known for her role as Skyler White in Breaking Bad.
Vancouver Island South film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert said location scouts have been in Oak Bay and the Capital region for the past two weeks. She said most of the filming would likely occur in Oak Bay and on Oak Bay Avenue but she was hesitant to confirm.
“We have a show looking like it’s going to shoot in Oak Bay and the CRD,” Gilbert said. “Until the cameras are rolling, I don’t consider this a done deal.”
Gilbert is cautious because in her more than 20 years in the film industry she has seen production companies change their minds at the last minute. She said the film commission has been working on landing the show for the last two months. If things go according to plan, she foresees film tourism to follow after the show airs.
“Broadchurch is one of the widest-watched shows in the U.K. and the location where Broadchurch is filmed, experienced film tourism,” Gilbert said. “X-Men and Little Women did that for us here but I don’t think there has been anything since that has had such mass appeal.”
Women, starring Winona Ryder, was filmed in Victoria in 1994 and four X-Men films were filmed in Colwood.
Filming for Gracepoint is expected to start in late January and wrap up in May. Gilbert said disruption in the community will be minimal.
“They are not going to come in and takeover, nor are we going to give them carte blanche,” Gilbert said, adding Oak Bay Avenue will not be shut down to the community. “They will work with store owners, business owners or homeowners in Oak Bay. It’s all done with cooperaton and very close relationship with municipalities.”
Last Wednesday (Dec. 11), a meeting was held among producers, the film commission, Oak Bay council, the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association and Oak Bay tourism representatives. Coun. Michelle Kirby said the meeting was informational and a way for producers to gauge support for them to film here. She spoke positively about Oak Bay playing a major role in what is expected to be a popular television series.
“Its exciting, it’s going to showcase Oak Bay to the world,” Kirby said. “It’s excellent for tourism and it will bring a lot money into the community.”
Kirby added that the producers were “blown away by the scenic beauty” of Oak Bay.
Gilbert said she doesn’t know how much the show will cost to produce and expects more information about that and the location of filming to start coming in the first week of January.
Five business days are needed to issue a film permit.