Sky Sports’ advert filmed at Hartlepool’s Northern Film and TV Studios

Hartlepool-based Northern Film and TV Studios was one of the locations used to film an advertisement starring the biggest names from the world of sport.

The ad is part of the current creative campaign for Sky Sports called The Greatest Show on Earth, which features world-famous sporting faces in a big-top setting as they perform awe-inspiring circus acts.

In the advert Idris Elba appears as the ringmaster with a range of top sporting names, including Durham and England cricketer Ben Stokes, Lionesses Ella Toone and Lauren James, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish Lewis Hamilton, Emma Raducanu, Jon Rahm and more, using their sporting prowess as part of a series of circus acts.

The segment featuring England men’s Test cricket captain Ben Stokes was filmed earlier this year at The Northern Film and TV Studios, which is the only large-scale studio complex in the North East.

Nina Yoxall, head of The Northern Film and TV Studios, said: “We were delighted to work with the Sky team at the Studios. The beauty of the facility is how flexible it is. It’s a really great, versatile space to shoot commercials like the Sky Sports campaign as well as film and television productions. It’s also perfect as a unit base for crews that are filming on location.”

Speaking to specialist film and TV industry online news bulletin ‘The Knowledge’, Sky Creative’s head of production, Paul Mortimore, explained that filming for the advert had taken place across the UK with a short session in the USA.

“We filmed at Garden Studios in Acton, Manchester City’s training facility, McClaren in Woking and in Phoenix Arizona as well as at The Northern Film and TV Studios. The shoot in Phoenix was for Jon Rahm, our golfer, again one of those moments where we had last-minute availability, so we sent a small team over to film for a short time. We had him for just 45 minutes as he was preparing for a tournament.

“We hired in performers who would double for the footballers then used deep fake AI technology to replace some to make them look like our sports talent; also some of the scenes were shot in camera and cut seamlessly to look like the sports talent were back flipping.”

Paul added that the other sports talent including Ben Stokes “were shot doing what they do best, though Jon Rahm didn’t really swallow the golf club and the scene with Emma Raducanu was shot a few feet off the ground.”

He added: “Talent availability really was the big challenge on this production - we were dealing with some of the best sportsmen and sportswomen in the world so it was essential that the schedule was kept fluid, not only because the times at which they were arriving were changing but the days as well, so we had had to be very reactive.”

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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