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PLAGUE TO HIT BRUM! EXCLUSIVE New series of Survivors to be filmed in deserted city.

Byline: BY ROZ LAWS

BIRMINGHAM is to become the centre of a brave new world after millions of people die in a devas tating epidemic.

Survivors of the ravaging virus will be seen struggling to survive around the city's landmarks, including the Rotunda and Bullring.

Ninety-nine per cent of the world's population will be wiped out by the freak disease and those who manage to stay alive will face no society or law and order.

Food will be scarce in the new world and some survivors will turn violent in their struggle to live.

The shocking scenes will be shown on BBC1.

But viewers can rest asction not sured they are fi fact.

The city has been chosen as the setting for the new series of the hit drama Survivors.

It is the first major to be set in the city for almost 20 years.

Yet film-makers have laued the city as a great setting for drama.

Oscar-winning film Danny Boyle is among those who say more people should consider lm set. Birmingham as a film set.

Danny, who picked up the best director Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire last month, had a look round the Mailbox, Bullring, New Street, Chamberlain Square, Centenary Square and Gas Street Basin on a visit to the city three years ago.

He said: "What you need are iconic buildings like these.

"I just love the way Selfridges is next to the old church.

That's very filmic. It's just what modern architecture should do.

"This is the sort of thing that galvanises everybody and yougradually build up the profile.

"It surprises me just how romantic Birmingham now is. I never knew the square at St Philip's Cathedral was there. It looks incredible and all of the other squares are just so beautiful."

The first series of Survivors, which attracted almost six million viewers, lmed around Manchester, with the characters seen venturing into the deserted, post-apocalyptic city.

The Survivors team are moving to Birmingham next month, with production Starting in May and lastng four months.

All six episodes will be filmed in Birmingham.

The first two episodes will be filmed in city locations, while much of the latter episodes will be more suburban and rural.

Many of the school will have to take place very early in the morning when the city centre is quiet enough to look deserted.

Wherever possible the production will use local resources such as crew and extras.

Nicolas Brown, director of Drama Production, said: "We are very pleased to be shooting this series out Birmingham.

"We are looking forward to working with everyone there to get the maximum impact on screen for this all-important second outing."

It is the first time a primetime drama It is the fi has been set in the city since 1990.

Other series, like the sitcoms All About Me with Jasper Carrott and Heartburn Hotel with Tim Healy, were set in Birmingham but been filmed in London.

Doctors has been filmed in Birmingham since 2000 but the location is called Leatherbridge and no obvious landmarks appear.

Twelve series of the detective drama Dalziel & Pascoe, starring Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan, were shot in the Midlands between 1996 and 2007, but the stories were about Yorkshire, so anything which could identify the city was disguised.

The last major drama to heavily feature Birmingham was Kinsey, starring Leigh Lawson and Serena Gordon as lawyers, which ran for two series in 1990 and 1991.

Before that, the Michael Elphick and Neil Morrissey drama Boon was shot in Birmingham in 1986 and the soap Crossroads stopped filming in Birmingham in 1988.

Gangsters was shot in the city in the 1970s.

Birmingham City Council Leader Mike Whitby said: "Bringing a hugely successful TV show like Survivors to the city is great news and a testament to the iconic backdrop that Birmingham offers filmmakers.

"I am confident more shows will follow the Survivors lead."

Suzie Norton of Screen WM said: "This is a fantastic win for the West Midlands, in particular during a time where everyone is feeling the recession.

"Working in partnership with Film Birmingham, we have been able to sell the great benefits of our region."

CAPTION(S):

DESTINATION BRUM: Stars Julie Graham and Max Beesley will be seen at landmarks Selfridge's and the Rotunda. Below, Danny Boyle
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2009
Words:717
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