Berwick quayside goes back to 14th century for Netflix film

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick
Picture by Jane Coltman
Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick Picture by Jane Coltman

Berwick quayside was transformed into the 14th century port of Glasgow and the Old Bridge became London Bridge for the Netflix drama Outlaw King, being filmed in the town this week.

It took the Loudoun Productions Limited crew a week to transform the 21st century streetscape at the quayside into a scene from 700 years ago before filming got under way on Monday and Tuesday.

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick
Picture by Jane Coltman

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick Picture by Jane Coltman

The presence of the film crew proved quite a draw for many locals, some hoping to catch a glimpse of Hollywood actor Chris Pine, the star of the film, which is based on the King of Scotland, Robert Bruce, who led the Scots in their first war of independence against the English.

It is described as “a true David vs Goliath story of how the great 14th Century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert The Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat and repel the much larger and better equipped occupying English army”.

Robert lived from 1274 to 1329 and the film focuses on his battle against the King of England. One of the most famous stories about Robert Bruce is the inspiration he is supposed to have taken from a spider.

Hiding in a cave during this confrontational period with the English, Robert watched a spider attempt to spin its web across the mouth of the cave. It failed six times but was successful on its seventh attempt. Bruce decided to chance his luck against the English one more time, which is what brought him and the film crew to Berwick.

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick
Picture by Jane Coltman

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick Picture by Jane Coltman

Berwick councillor Catherine Seymour said crowds have been gathering down at the quayside to catch a glimpse of the action.

“So far we’ve seen around 40 knights on horses,” she said.

“It is really exciting and good publicity for us. There are a lot of local people who are working as extras and lots of people have come to watch.

“I have been talking to the location manager and some of the crew and they say that the area is great for filming because it is so beautiful.”

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick
Picture by Jane Coltman

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick Picture by Jane Coltman

Berwick’s new bridge proved a popular spot on Monday and Tuesday – an ideal location to watch what was going on below them at “the port of Glasgow and London Bridge”.

Not everyone was so positive about the transformation of the quayside area and there were mixed views about any long-term benefits for the town in tourism terms. A series of road closures and parking restrictions created some disruption in the area while filming took place.

Berwick Town Council’s mayor, Councillor Gregah Roughead, said: “We welcome this opportunity to show Berwick off to the world.

“Berwick is a fabulous location for filming, with a stunning mix of medieval, Georgian and Victorian architecture and our iconic bridges.

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick
Picture by Jane Coltman

Filming of Outlaw King in Berwick Picture by Jane Coltman

“We’re sure everyone involved will have a great time and will help us show Berwick off to a new audience.”

Berwick is one of five locations chosen for the Netflix drama. Others include Linlithgow Palace, and the Isle of Skye – Coral Beach, Quiraing and Talisker.

Directed by Oscar-nominated Scottish film director David Mackenzie the drama Outlaw King is expected to air on Netflix some time next year.