Filming in Shetland

Shetland’s dramatic and varied landscape, rich wildlife and rugged beauty, has long caught the imagination of film and documentary makers. Discover how you too can bring your film project to life here on our picturesque islands.

Shetland is a location that celebrates and supports film production, from the annual Screenplay Festival curated by film critic and presenter Mark Kermode through to the education opportunities provided by Shetland Arts and the University of the Highlands and Islands. There is a wealth of creative talent and enthusiasm on the islands.

Highly successful TV shows and films that have been shot here include: five series of the TV drama Shetland; two series of BBC’s Island Medics; Simon King’s Shetland Diaries; and Wild Shetland, narrated by Ewan McGregor.

There is a huge potential to take your film project from concept to reality in Shetland.

Locations

Shetland offers many kinds of coastal setting, for example spectacular cliffs, deserted sandy beaches and dunes. There are harbours at every scale, from intimate coves to two major ports. Inland, there are heather-covered hills, classically wild moorland, rolling countryside, meadowland and some areas of established woodland. Settlements range in type from rural cottages in spectacular settings to the historic town centres of Lerwick and Scalloway.

Logistics and support

Centuries of experience in meeting the needs of seaborne trade and four decades’ involvement in the offshore oil industry mean that Shetlanders are well used to meeting unusual, often highly specialised, requirements at short notice.

There are a range of tradespeople and some great resources in the community, too. For example, an impressive range of classic cars and motorbikes is carefully maintained by enthusiasts in the islands. Local fixers are expert in finding houses, vehicles, boats and extras to fit very specific requirements and both the public authorities and local people are keen to help out in every way they can.

Transport both to and from the islands and within Shetland is good. Frequent daily flights link Sumburgh in Shetland with the UK mainland and there's an overnight ferry, every evening, in both directions.

Shetland has sound and video recording and editing suites at the arts centre, Mareel. Locally-based aircraft and helicopters can be chartered. There are also good medical facilities, including accident and emergency services.

How Shetland Islands Council can help

If you're in the early stages of your project, we recommend that you get in touch with the Film Liaison Officer at Shetland Islands Council (see contact details below). The council can give you a fast, free, confidential and informative service to help you realise your project, whether it's a feature film or a stills shoot. They work closely with Scotland’s regional film offices and have lots of experience of helping to bring projects to the screen.

The Shetland Islands Council offers:

  • An image gathering service
  • A free location-finding service covering the islands
  • Familiarisation trips and possible financial help with recces
  • Assistance with research
  • Knowledge of local services: for example, car-hire, set builders, accommodation, diving services and wildlife guides
  • The Council, as local authority, is also in a position to provide other kinds of practical support, for example, arranging road closures and associated traffic management.

Contact

If you are interested in filming in Shetland, please contact Neil Henderson, Film Liaison Officer at Shetland Islands Council:

Economic Development Service
Shetland Islands Council
Solarhus
3 North Ness Business Park
Lerwick
Shetland
ZE1 0LZ

Telephone: +44 (0)1595 744960

Add to
My Shetland
collection
My Collection 0
Close