A director has said a new TV crime drama set in York could bring £75m to the local economy by attracting more international visitors to the city.
Dave Thorp, who works for the Yorkshire-based company Watch moviesis behind The Duke of York Mysterieswhich is inspired by classic English crime dramas such as adaptations by Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders and Jonathan Creek.
The series follows the adventures of Sebastian Duke – an English gentleman in the vein of Roger Moore – as he and his companions solve mysteries around the city, with York’s architecture and history taking center stage.
“York is the star of the show,” Dave said. “Vikings, Romans, chocolate factories, railroads, Guy Fawkes, ghosts and the supernatural. All the things that make York so fascinating, wonderful and unique are presented.
Filming which began before the pandemic is now unusable for continuity reasons, but Dave, who lives in York, said the break has given the team a chance to refocus on bringing the program to the international market.
He added: “There is an insatiable desire overseas for English crime dramas – Vera is a very big seller and Midsomer Murders was, I think, the longest running crime series.
“We were aiming for a British audience – the ideal Sunday evening, 8-10 p.m. slots. But it was fairly quickly pointed out to us that in reality the real potential was abroad, and in particular in the United States.
The Visualize Films team has written 12 two-hour episodes and production is underway on three of them, with interest in screening it around the world.
Based on research from Oxford Economics, Dave said international exposure could boost York’s £750million annual tourism revenue by 10%.
He appeared at a full council meeting to ask councilors for their support and said he had received a positive response.
Dave, a multi-award-winning filmmaker and cameraman who has worked all over the world, said the team was considering changing the show’s name due to allegations of sexual abuse surrounding Prince Andrew – which he denies – but decided to keep it.
“He doesn’t own that title and actually it’s a chance for us to claim that title and give him some decency and honor,” Dave said.
Visualize Films is particularly keen for the people of Yorkshire to be used in the making of the series.
“Leeds and York have a huge amount of talent,” Dave said. “Yorkshire is a wonderful place to work – from a photographic and cinematic point of view, it’s amazing.
“Plus, there are amazing people in front of and behind the camera – so we’re very keen that we don’t just do London talent.
“We actually want to look at the talent pool in the Yorkshire region and use it – there are the economic benefits but also there are so many creative benefits.”