The Minister responsible for Tourism and Culture has promised to keep a close eye on any public money used to fund a Bergerac revamp after the project took a major step forward.
In February, it emerged that producers were working on a reboot of the much-loved detective drama headed by adopted islander John Nettles as a potential future commission for Paramount’s network of channels outside the US.
Now it appears that filming for the revamp could start as early as next year.
Last week, Senator Lyndon Farnham – the Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sports and Culture – met with executives from Viacom/Paramount Pictures, Endemol Shine and Westward Studios in London to discuss potential investment in the production and filming on-island.
Pictured: Senator Lyndon Farnham met with producers last week.
Describing the series of meetings as “productive”, the Minister told Express: “I was very impressed with the plans presented and encouraged by the progress made to produce a new series of Bergerac and to film in Jersey in the early part of 2020.
“The project is being delivered by a strong team of globally acclaimed media partners with a solid track record of success in many similar projects.”
While the plan to reopen the ‘Bureau des Étrangers’ has been welcomed by many, other social media commentators have evoked the ‘Canbedone’ fiasco, which saw a £200,000 taxpayer-funded grant handed to a company for pre-production work on a film called ‘Knights of Impossingworth’.
‘Canbedone Ltd’ said this would lead to the filming of a major movie in the island, but no filming ever took place.
Pictured: The new series would be a modern-day update of the original drama headed by John Nettles.
It emerged after the grant was handed over by the Economic Development Department that the man behind the scheme had convictions for theft dating back to 1993 and that he had been disqualified from being a company director – the department was unaware of the conviction at the time that they approved the grant.
However, Senator Farnham was firm that “any finance provided will be subject to strict criteria ensuring maximum benefit for the island.”
“It is clear that the production of a new series of Bergerac represents a significant opportunity for Jersey which I aim to ensure is delivered during the production of the series and long in to the future,” he added.
Westward Studios Producer Brian Constantine added that his team were “incredibly encouraged by the progress made to date with the Bergerac project”.
Pictured: A 1980s Jersey Tourism campaign fronted by Bergerac.
Similarly describing last week’s meeting with government as “productive”, he added: “It’s important to note that it is in the late stages of development so there is still a way to go before we can definitely say it’s happening, but everything is pointing in the right direction…
“We are thrilled that Jersey Government, Senator Farnham and his team have been so supportive of our ambition to film on Jersey.”
The Producer also teased that there may be more “significant news” released “soon”, stating: “…All involved are working incredibly hard behind the scenes to see Bergerac back on our screens in the not too distant future.”
Despite not having run for nearly 30 years, the 1981 to 1991 serial still holds iconic status in Jersey.
It was credited with attracting holidaymakers to the island, with the protagonist himself fronting several tourism campaigns.
Pictured: Bergerac's car was featured in an 80s-inspired Jersey Museum exhibition last year.
The show saw a recent resurgence in popularity as Jim Bergerac’s iconic car – a Triumph Roadster 2000 – appeared as the centrepiece in a popular exhibition about the 1980s at the Jersey Museum, which came to a close over Christmas after an extended run.
Last year also saw Bergerac’s BAFTA award-winning soundtrack get a revamp, with VisitJersey commissioning dance musician Youngr to put his own electronic twist on the tune, whose music video was set at various island landmarks.
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