Jul 31 2020
Anyone who visited Larchfield Estate last year between March and July, may recall that we had a little bit of filming going on across the estate. Something we were extremely excited about, but had to keep under wraps for obvious reasons! We are delighted that Location Manager Chris Myers has taken the time to chat about choosing Larchfield Estate as the key film location for Marcella Season 3....
'Marcella is an ITV/Netflix crime drama starring the amazing Anna Friel as a gifted and troubled cop from production company Buccaneer Media. Season 3 was shot between March and July 2019 with Larchfield House and Estate as the key location. The series will air later this year.
As Location Manager I was delighted that the production company had shown faith in our booming film sector by choosing Belfast to shoot the third series of this well established and incredibly successful show. The bonus for me as a local filmmaker was contemporary Belfast being the setting as well as the host, giving the chance to show a version of life today in our region to audiences far and wide.
Over five months we would shoot in dozens of sites, from parts of The Harland and Wolff shipyard never filmed in before, to taking over the lobby of the Stormont Hotel. The first task for myself and our extraordinary Production Designer Gillian Devenney was to give our Director and Producers options for our key location where we would spend most of our shoot days. A mansion... Home to a seemingly respectable, successful family whose dark secrets will form part of the story.
Two factors had to collide. TV is a visual medium - the mansion and it’s grounds had to look great and carry a wow factor. We also had to be confident the site could accommodate our small army of filmmakers working day, night, rain or shine.
This of course led us to Larchfield Estate. You come through the gate, take in the parkland and your eye is drawn to the house in the distance. A beautiful period building, large enough to suggest the status of our story’s resident family but not so daunting in scale as to be unimaginable as a home. Recces led to production meetings, more than one option was tabled but from early on we were agreed that Larchfield topped our list.
So, visually it’s a yes but it then falls to me as Location Manager to underwrite that the site can work with us operationally - the vehicles, the scores of people, the long hours and need to complete a schedule whatever the fates throw at us. This is where we got lucky, as Larchfield Estate was already home to a thriving events business and we were to be working with an events team who were up to the challenge.
It was lovely to see the seasons turn in the grounds as spring became summer. Larchfield was very much the shoot’s spiritual home. An alpaca born in the paddock in front of the house during filming was named after a cast member and become our mascot, her photos decorating the production office!
As we settled in, the ease of working at Larchfield led to us setting more scenes beyond the house than originally planned on the estate utilizing woods, lanes, lakes and the beautiful Walled Garden.
I will first see the full series when aired on ITV. I’ll be wondering if Larchfield and the other locations are supporting the work of writers, directors and actors and feel like an extra character. I’ll be hoping Northern Ireland looks great and local viewers have the thrill of spotting some familiar places.
For us and our show Larchfield Estate was great place to work. Gavin, Sarah and the whole Larchfield team where never less than open and helpful throughout for what was, as all filming on this scale, a demanding project. I know we’ll all be proud of the results.'
Christopher Myers is a Belfast based Location Manager for film and television.
All images © Buccaneer Media (apart from baby Amanda!)