A Sidney waterfront building has been chosen to act as a morgue and police station as crews plan to film portions of the North American remake of the U.K. crime series Broadchurch.
The production is expected to bring to town upwards of 200 people working on the production between now an the end of May.
The former site of the Captain’s Table and Mineral World next to the Sidney Pier Hotel is being used to house the two sets in the filming of what is being called Gracepoint. The 10-episode Fox TV remake stars David Tennant from the original series (he’s also a former Doctor Who), Nick Nolte (48 Hours, Warrior), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), among others.
Michael Cronquist, vice-president of business development for the Marker Group which owns the building, says the site was chosen by a locations manager with Gracepoint Productions, based in Victoria. First contact was made through the Vancouver Island South Film Commission.
“They liked the waterfront location of the building,” he said, adding he was told it fits in with the setting of the TV series.
Already, crews are at the site building the sets.
Filming, Cronquist added, is expected to start at the end of February and continue to the end of May. There will be, he said, an estimated five days of filming each month.
There are two big positives for Sidney, Cronquist added. One is the so-called circus — a collection of 150 to 200 support crew that will be set up at a different location. Another 40 to 60 people will be working on the set location itself.
“It’s such a big endeavour,” he continued. “They have a bunch of locations in the CRD.”
Sidney Mayor Larry Cross said he’s excited to see the activity in his community.
“It’s a big production and it should bring some added economic activity to Sidney,” he said, adding the Town itself could get a little exposure from filming on and around the waterfront.
While he has heard of the original U.K. series Broadchurch, Cross said he hadn’t yet seen it.
“I understand it was very popular in England. I think this one (Gracepoint) will be successful here.”
Redevelopment on hold for film crews
The redevelopment of Sidney’s Seaport Place — the site of the former Captain’s Table and Mineral World — will begin to take shape once the film crews have left in the spring.
Michael Cronquist of the Marker Group, one of the players in the Sidney Waterfront Partnership (the other is the Town of Sidney), says the television series production schedule fits in with the site redevelopment plans.
“We are only on the first edge of the rezoning process,” he explained.
The partnership was slated to have a public open house on Thursday, Jan. 16 to explain their plans for a multi-level condo development with commercial space on the ground floor.
The Town of Sidney on Monday approved plans to use the site as a film location and voted unanimously to set in motion the rezoning process. Cronquist said that process and planning for redevelopment of the site will take weeks and the television production work fits nicely in their timeline.