Scotland politics

Game of Thrones producers 'put off Scotland'

Game of Thrones Image copyright AP
Image caption Game of Thrones has boosted Northern Ireland's film and TV industry

The producers behind Game of Thrones were put off filming the TV drama in Scotland by a lack of infrastructure, it has been claimed.

Drew McFarlane, from the Equity actors' union, said the fantasy series went to Northern Ireland because it was able to facilitate the production.

His comments came during a Holyrood inquiry into the creative industries.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop later told MSPs she supported the idea of setting up a Scottish film studio.

Game of Thrones has helped raise NI's profile as a filming location.

The series, made by American film company HBO, hit screens in 2011 and has won numerous awards and nominations.

Northern Ireland doubles for the fictional land of Westeros in the drama.

The Scottish Parliament's economy committee heard concerns that the arts and economic development bodies - Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise - were were not working together well enough to support the home-grown film and television industry.

Increased presence

Mr McFarlane told MSPs: "Game of Thrones was looking to come to Scotland and it didn't come here, because we don't have a body pushing hard enough.

"We've two public quangos who don't seem to take a lead from each other and Game of Thrones looked at the infrastructure which is sadly lacking - all there in Northern Ireland.

"I think the public bodies have got to answer that one."

Game of Thrones, based on George RR Martin's best-selling books, has led to an increased film and television drama presence in Northern Ireland, as well as a spin-off benefits for its tourist industry.

Production was supported by bodies including Northern Ireland screen.

Parts of the series was also filmed on location in Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco.

Ms Hyslop told the Scottish parliament on Wednesday that the government has increased the support for the film industry.

She said she shares the desire to have a permanent film studio here in Scotland, with several proposals being consulted on.

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