For actors and actresses, getting a big break in a film or TV show can end up being a very lucrative business indeed. Getting the role of Harry Potter, for example, clearly transformed the life of young child actor Daniel Radcliffe, helping to make him a Hollywood star with a net worth of about £90 million.
Yet is it just the actors who benefit from their exposure to the viewing public? What about the locations in which films and TV shows are set? There are several examples of properties in pop culture which have become cult locations for fans, and incidentally have had their value rocket as this article explains.
Take Harry Potter, for example. While Radcliffe now might be a household name, we can also see the impact of on-screen stardom for his fictional household too.
Last summer the owner of the real house that doubled as the wizard’s home – his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s address at 4 Privet Drive, Little Whingeing, Surrey – put it on the market for an above-market-average £475,000. It had last changed hands for £290,000 in 2010.
That property is actually a home in Picket Post Close in Martins Heron, Bracknell and, although it was taken off sale in November, the Potter magic seems to have rubbed off on the neighbouring properties.
In December, the next-door home sold for £650,000 – £200,000 over the original asking price. While it might have an extra bedroom than the ‘Dursley home’, estate agents reckon the association with JK Rowling’s ever-popular series must have had an impact.
It’s not an isolated case either. The number of people searching for properties in the parts of Cornwall where Poldark was filmed are said to have doubled after the popular drama was screened on BBC One.
In nearby Dorset, the blue riverside chalet that was home to DI Alec Hardy in hit ITV drama Broadchurch also enjoyed a price boost as a result of its on screen stardom.
Malcolm Gill, from agency Lyme Coast Holidays, told the Guardian: “We were amazed at the response. The owner had it on the market about three years ago for £200,000, and we sold it with a price guide of £275,000. I think that can only be attributed to its fame.”
Yet, while being being featured in a film or TV programme can greatly enhance the price of a property, it does depend on the content and context. Harry Potter, Poldark and Broadchurch are highly popular and, as a result, spark enthusiasm among an enthusiastic fanbase – some of whom might be lured by the kudos of owning a home that featured in their favourite stories. But what of those who get negative or unwanted attention?
Channel Four’s controversial 2014 series Benefits Street centred on the lives of the real inhabitants of James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham for its first series.
The street was picked because the vast majority of residents claimed some form of benefit payments from the state and episodes showed crimes being committed and many people lacking the ambition or motivation to go out and get a job.
Critics derided it as ‘poverty porn’ and many of the residents felt upset at the way they came across on screen.
The Birmingham Mail recently reported that a three-bedroom terraced house in the street has struggled to sell, despite being listed last May and, at £79,950, being priced almost £100,000 cheaper than the average priced home in the area. Given that the Mail highlights the street’s ‘infamous’ reputation, TV fame could well be said to have had the opposite of the ‘Potter effect’ for James Turner Street.
Similarly, residents of one estate in Essex have written to the Royal Mail to ask their addresses to be changed to avoid being associated with a part of their village that has become notorious thanks to television exposure.
People living in the retirement bungalows of the Tudor Estate no longer want to be associated with Jaywick, after the village’s Brooklands area featured in Channel 5’s Benefits By The Sea programme.
One small bungalow was recently placed on the market for just £13,500, despite the fact that an identical property on the same street had previously been listed for sale for almost £60,000 in 2013.
It seems when it comes to properties on television there is such a thing as bad publicity.
However, there is another dimension to consider when it comes to properties that double as locations for camera crews. Namely, that offering up your living space can provide a tidy little income.
Agencies such as JJ Media sign up locations of all shapes and sizes, giving film crews somewhere to turn to when looking for the perfect setting for their characters. The money to be earned from putting your home forward for use on film or TV can be as much as a couple of thousand pounds a day.
Ingrid Spiegl has allowed her house in Toxteth, Liverpool, to be invaded by TV cameras on a number of occasions.
Among her home’s on screen ‘credits’ are The Forsyte Saga featuring Damian Lewis, which was filmed in 2001, and Foyle’s War.
Ingrid told the Liverpool Echo: “Damian Lewis broke my door knob.
“He was rattling it. It was a china one and it broke. My late husband glued it back together again with a piece of paper ‘saying Damian Lewis broke this door knob’ because we think that’s a thing to be proud of.”
The crews that used properties in this way often need to redecorate, with a view to returning the home to its original state before they pack up and go – although Ingrid was all too happy for the Forsyte team to leave the work they had done in place given that she’d just had the house re-wired and needed to do the work herself anyway.
Not only could this be a money-maker while you live in the house, but the potential for the property to earn further revenue becomes a selling point in its own right, even if the shows haven’t been as famous as Potter or Poldark.
A four-bedroom home in Wandsworth went on the market last year for £1.1 million, making a feature of the fact that its kitchen had been used by The Body Coach Joe Wicks, Masterchef judges Greg Wallace and John Torode and ex-model Jodie Kidd for TV location work.
Owner Wajeeha Nolan, 46, said: “Using the home as a shoot location will contribute a significant proportion towards your mortgage.
“Although it generates a heathy annual income you can experience quieter periods, but the lead up to Christmas is always quite busy.”
Whether it’s during the sale or during your time in the property, it’s clear that a home could bring in a big financial reward for featuring on the big screen or silver screen…although there is such a thing as the wrong kind of fame.