Our local authority chiefs will have been delighted recently when their efforts to promote the Vale as a fantastic location for TV and film makers came to fruition. Film crews arrived in Barry recently for the production of a new Channel Four drama and there are strong rumours of similar sightings in Wenvoe in recent days.

The Barry film crew set up in a car park near Whitmore Bay for a new series ‘The Undeclared War’ starring Mark Rylance and Simon Pegg. It’s a six-part drama series about cyber-conflict, apparently based at GCHQ. Filming took place on the Island, within Barry Rail Depot, using the promenade and even some of the Beach Huts. Film companies are obviously taking note of the Vale website which proudly claims we are ‘a county of contrasts; miles of dramatic coastline backed by rolling countryside, small quaint Welsh villages, bustling market towns and large civic centres brimming with character and personality.’ It’s nothing new of course. The Vale was used as far back as 1959 when John and Hayley Mills visited to film parts of ‘Tiger Bay.’ Gavin and Stacey, Dr Who, Torchwood and many others followed. More recently, the 2018 Netflix hit Sex Education starring Gillian Anderson, filmed at the Paget Rooms in Penarth.

What about renting your own house out and getting the opportunity to meet the stars?

It’s not just our coastline and civic buildings these film companies are after. Film companies rent private houses, apartments and gardens. So this could be your chance to mingle with the stars. Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch have all filmed in the Vale in recent years. If you prefer international superstars, that is also possible. The film Criminal starring Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and new Wrexham FC owner Ryan Reynolds, was filmed at St Athan in 2015.

If you are very lucky you could be approached with a note through your door. To be sure to join the latest craze though, you will need to register with a location agency and get them to assess your house or apartment for suitability. Send in good quality images and details of your property and surrounds, ensuring there are no pets or children in the pictures. From there, the location agency will market your property to potential clients when it fits a particular photo shoot or film brief. The agent will vet the company and project for you, ensuring that public liability insurance is in place.

You can mostly stay in your home during filming, which may often only take a few days, unless the director wants total secrecy e.g. ahead of a high-budget movie when you are offered hotel accommodation. Other important factors in getting chosen are the availability of ample nearby parking for film crews and your willingness to being open to allowing the film crew to redecorate inside or outside your home. They will of course make good on any changes done.

So what do you think? You could well be in your home sharing a pot of tea with Tom Cruise or then again is this ‘Mission Impossible?