Northern Ireland

Disney Channel: Major musical drama The Lodge filming in Northern Ireland

Two of the characters in The Lodge on set during filming
Image caption The Lodge is to be screened on the Disney Channel in the autumn

A major children's musical drama is being made in Northern Ireland by the Disney Channel.

The 10-part series is called The Lodge and will be shown on the channel in September.

Almost 100 cast and crew are employed on the show which is being filmed at locations in County Down.

David Levine, the Disney Channel's UK and Ireland head, said it was the first time it had brought a production of its scale to Northern Ireland.

Image caption Montalto Lodge, near Ballynahinch, is the scene for much of the filming

"So far Northern Ireland's been mostly known for swords and dragons - Disney Channel is bringing songs and dancing," he said.

"We're investing quite a bit, and you have production, post-production, builders, sets and filming in multiple locations here."

Sub-plots

Most of the filming is taking place at Montalto Lodge just outside Ballynahinch, but scenes are also being shot in Castlewellan and Tollymore Forest near Newcastle.

The Lodge has a cast of 22 and 67 crew, of whom 46 are from Northern Ireland, including local producer Raymond Lau.

Image caption Sophie Simnett said the musical drama has "a lot of sub-plots"

The series tells the story of a 15-year-old girl called Skye who, along with her father, swaps life in the city to take over the running of the family's country lodge.

Skye finds out her father is planning to sell the business, so she has the summer to convince him to change his mind.

Sophie Simnett, who most recently appeared in the BBC series Dickensian, plays Skye.

"There are a lot of sub-plots, all of which involve a lot of activity," she said.

Image caption Thomas Doherty said it was "amazing" to get the part of Sean in The Lodge

"So as well as the singing and dancing, I had to learn to rock climb as there is one scene where I go on a date and go rock-climbing.

"We also had to learn how to kayak as there is a scene where the whole group go kayaking."

Amazing

Thomas Doherty, who has appeared in the TV series Dracula and the film Hercules, plays Sean.

"He is fun-loving, he's very sporty, and he has a love interest in Skye," he said.

Image caption Filming on The Lodge is set to end before the summer

"I originally trained to do musical theatre, so it was amazing to get this.

"We've had choreography, we've had singing coaches, so we've had the best training and it's good fun."

The Lodge will complete filming before the summer, and will be shown first on the Disney Channel in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

It is then expected to be screened on the channel elsewhere in Europe.