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One 'giant' leap for island tourism

Press Release   •   Jul 19, 2016 11:17 BST

Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and the BFG (Mark Rylance) in a Scotland-inspired landscape

Skye and Orkney’s starring roles in Disney’s The BFG have highlighted the “giant” contribution Scotland’s islands have made to cinema and television over the years, according to VisitScotland.

The national tourism organisation says their appearance in the new Steven Spielberg blockbuster, which hits UK cinemas this Friday (22 July), will inspire more visitors to explore the country’s magical offshore landscapes.

Skye and Orkney can be seen in the big-screen version of the Roald Dahl classic as part of the homeland of the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance), where he takes young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) on a hunt for dreams.

The digitally enhanced shots of Skye include the Quiraing, the Old Man of Storr, the Cuillins, the Faerie Glen and the Shiant Islands, while an aerial unit filmed at the Old Man of Hoy on Orkney. A section of the A1 at Haddington also makes an appearance.

Skye has appeared in numerous movies in recent years, including Macbeth (2015), starring Michael Fassbender; Keanu Reeves vehicle 47 Ronin (2013); Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012); Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart (2012); and the romantic fantasy film Stardust (2007), which counts Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer among its stars.

The island’s amazing landscapes have also seen Skye feature in cult science-fiction classic Flash Gordon (1980); fantasy flick Highlander (1986); as well as The Land That Time Forgot (1975); Made of Honour (2008); Breaking the Waves (1996); and Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (2007). The latter is produced by Christopher Young, the man behind BBC Alba’s Gaelic language drama Bannan, which is also filmed on Skye.

Scotland is home to nearly 800 offshore islands and Skye is not the only one to have played starring roles on the silver screen. Other notable appearances include:

  • Arran: Brodick Castle was one of the main filming locations in the 1998 drama The Governess, starring Minnie Driver
    • Barra: (Whisky Galore, 1949). The original film adaptation of Compton Mackenzie’s classic novel saw Barra become the fictional islands of Great and Little Todday
    Harris: (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1969) – legendary director Stanley Kubrick couldn’t afford a Juno-like space probe to film the far reaches of the solar system, so Harris stood in for the surface of Jupiter 
    Lewis: (Katie Morag, 2013-present) – the television adaptation of Mairi Hedderwick’s popular children’s books is set on the fictional Isle of Struay, but is shot on the Isle of Lewis
    Mull: Balamory (2002-2005) – the colourful houses of Tobermory feature prominently in the popular BBC children’s television programme; Eye of the Needle (1981) –  Mull becomes ‘Storm Island’ in this spy thriller starring Donald Sutherland and directed by Richard Marquand, who later made Return of the Jedi; Entrapment (1999) – the crime caper starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones was shot at Duart Castle
    Orkney: The island once home to Hollywood legend Robert Shaw features in The Spy in Black (1939), and children’s fantasy Venus Peter (1989) 
    Seil: (Ring of Bright Water, 1969) – Gavin Maxwell’s autobiographical tale about his pet otter was brought to life in Argyll and the Isles, with Graham Merrill (Bill Travers) taking in his new surroundings on Seil Island, across the famous “Bridge over the Atlantic”
    Shetland: Foula features prominently in Michael Powell’s The Edge of the World, (1937), which stars John Laurie, who later found fame as Private James “We’re Doomed!” Fraser in Dad’s Army; It’s Nice up North (2006) – a comedy documentary on the islands starring Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
    Staffa: (When Eight Bells Toll, 1971) – the espionage thriller starring Anthony Hopkins includes stunning scenes of the famous Fingal’s Cave

    Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s islands play a vital role in this country’s tourism industry, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It is fantastic to see The BFG join a long list of memorable movies to feature our incredible offshore locations, which have been seen in everything from science-fiction classics to fantasy blockbusters. With 40 per cent of visitors to the UK inspired to come here after seeing a location on film or on television, the appearance of Skye and Orkney in Steven Spielberg’s latest movie can only be great news, not only for the islands themselves, but for Scottish tourism as a whole.”
  • Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “Our island communities serve as a unique backdrop for TV and film productions, with dramatic landscapes and seascapes. These movies shine a spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems, which helps attract tourists to our island and rural communities.


    “We know that investment in screen, through Initiatives such as Creative Scotland’s Production Growth Fund, can bring more jobs, further growth and a provide an economic boost for destinations that feature on screen.”


    David Broder, Locations Manager on The BFG, said: “Scotland provided The BFG with very dramatic mountain and island locations that became our Giants Land, a place of wonder and awe. We received great help from Creative Scotland, The Scottish Ministers, RSPB Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland and the friendly, helpful residents of Skye and the Orkney Islands.”


    Brodie Pringle, Head of Creative Scotland’s Screen Commission, said: “Recently voted the world's Best Cinematic Destination, Film and TV producers spent a record £45.8m shooting in Scotland in 2014 with 2015 figures likely to be equally healthy, demonstrating an ever increasing appetite from major film and high-end TV producers to use Scotland as a location. We’d encourage anyone considering Scotland as a location to get in touch and see what we have to offer.”


    To find out more about set-jetting in Scotland, go to https://www.visitscotland.com/ebrochures/en/set-in-scotland/


    To discover more about Scotland’s islands, go to https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/island-hopping/


    The BFG is out in cinemas on Friday 22 July.

    Notes to Editors

     

    About the film:

    ABOUT THE FILM:

    From the imaginations of two of the world’s greatest storytellers, Roald Dahl and Steven Spielberg, The BFG tells the extraordinary tale of a young girl named Sophie (played by British newcomer Ruby Barnhill) and the Big Friendly Giant (played by Oscar winner Mark Rylance) who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Together they embark on a marvellous and buckswashling adventure filled with snozzcumbers, dream jars, frobscottle and even the Queen! The mismatched pair form an unlikely friendship that will inspire enormous bravery in the BFG and give Sophie a taste of the family she dreams of.

    IMAGES:

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    Password: Letmein1

    Folder: Entertainment One

      About VisitScotland:

    • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
    • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
    • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
    • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
    • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
    • For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com


      Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

    • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
    • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
    • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
    • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
    • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme

    ERDF.