The next instalment in the multimillion-dollar Transformers film franchise is being filmed in Alnwick and Bamburgh this week.
Filming is taking place at Alnwick Castle this week, while the beach at Bamburgh is closed over the weekend for filming to take place. The production itself was being kept very hush-hush, but it is now known to be the fifth Transformers film.
Transformers: The Last Knight, which will be released on June 23, 2017, will see Hollywood A-listers Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci reprise their roles from 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction, while Sir Anthony Hopkins has also joined the cast.
While the movies follow alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery, the film's title, plus reports that it will feature British history with a plot revolving around King Arthur and knights of Camelot, explain why the historic castles at Alnwick and Bamburgh may be settings.
Director Michael Bay confirmed on his Instagram account that filming had moved to the UK towards the end of August, with pictures of knights on horseback in Scotland being shared on Facebook. And over the weekend, there were widespread reports of car chases being filmed in central London.
Bamburgh Castle has not confirmed what is being filmed, but has indicated the film is ‘huge and will put us on the map worldwide’.
The notice warning of the weekend beach closure reads: ‘With permission from Bamburgh Castle, a film production company will be filming scenes on the beach on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September. The scenes will involve the use of a camera vehicle moving at speed along the beach and they will also be using low-flying helicopter and drones. For safety reasons, the beach will be closed to the public on these two days from the rocks at the north-west end of the beach along to a point level with the east end of the castle. There will be security and marshals working on these days to ensure your safety. We would like to thank you for your co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience caused by the filming.'
On the Alnwick Castle website, visitors are warned: 'Please note that Alnwick Castle will be closed on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th September 2016 due to filming. If you plan to visit on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th and 20th of September please be aware certain areas of the castle may have restricted access due to the set-up and pack down of activities related to the closure. All areas of the castle will remain open but there maybe restricted movement on the site for short periods in certain areas.'
The filming had also led to the closure of part A of the Greenwell Lane car park in Alnwick since Monday morning, for which no prior notice was given. A county-council spokeswoman confirmed that this was in part due to the fact that 'the film company does not wish to release information about this work at present'.
She added: "Northumberland is a film-friendly county and we do everything that we can to facilitate requests from film crews in order to realise the tourism and other economic benefits that can be achieved.
"We understand the impact that a closure like this can have and that is why we always discuss and agree closures such as this with the town council, Alnwick Town Council in this case. Because the film company does not wish to release information about this work at present it was difficult to give advance notice.
"The car park is closed for the use of the film crew during this week and then this weekend for Alnwick's annual Battle of Britain event. While we can't change the legal time limits of other car parks for short periods like this, we will be bearing this closure in mind when enforcing time limits in nearby car parks this week."