As forecasted by political commentators and high-level experts in Europe, Great Britain's historic decision to leave the European Union — which is known as "Brexit" — will likely have far-reaching economic effects that even television and film productions will not be able to escape. Considering that popular shows like HBO's Game of Thrones are filmed largely in the UK, as well as throughout Europe, one question on the minds of fans may be, how will the Brexit effect British shows like Game of Thrones ?
Well, though the same may not be able to be said about other British-produced television shows (many of which are largely financed by funding from the EU's Media Desk — it's unclear how they will be affected in light of Brexit), it seems that Game Of Thrones may not be largely affected, despite previous reports to the contrary.
See, Game of Thrones films primarily in Northern Ireland, and since Northern Ireland is apart of the UK, the country will be leaving the European Union as well. This is important, of course, because Northern Ireland is an integral part of the Game of Thrones world. While the series has also filmed in Spain, Croatia, Iceland, and other countries throughout Europe, Northern Ireland is the series' home base. It is there that most scenes set in Winterfell, The Wall, and Dany's throne room are filmed, amongst many others. Without Northern Ireland, Game of Thrones simply would not look like Game of Thrones.
Thankfully, fans do not need to worry about Game of Thrones and Northern Ireland breaking up over the Brexit vote. "We do not anticipate that the result of the EU Referendum will have any material effect on HBO producing Game of Thrones," HBO said in a statement to Bustle. That is good news not only for fans, but for the series and Ireland.
So the question is, why have so many reports connecting the Brexit to Game of Thrones popped up in recent days? The answer is not a simple one, but it can be traced back to the economic incentive program known as the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The fund offers money to back numerous productions across the EU, including some in the UK — and in Game of Thrones' early days the series was one of them.
However, HBO also clarified in their statement that the series has not needed backing from the ERDF for the past few seasons. Instead, the series has relied on HBO and Northern Ireland Screen, which, according to their website, is self-funded and therefore not subject to any Brexit issues at this time.
And, even if Game of Thrones did need to call on the ERDF for extra financial support for some reason, they would still be able to do so for the next two years at least. It's important to remember the Brexit will likely not cause the UK to immediately break from the EU — it could take up to two years for the UK's exit to fully take place, and during that time, the UK will still have access to EU programs.
Of course, there is the matter of talk that the UK itself may break apart in light of Brexit, as much of the UK apart from apart from England (except for London) largely voted to remain in the EU. Yes, if the UK does fracture, then Northern Ireland could find itself on its own or reunited with Ireland, and Game of Thrones might end up in a precarious spot. For starters, things that weren't issues before, like visas and work permits, might become roadblocks in production. But, this is a worst case scenario situation. For now, with things so uncertain at the moment, it would be wise for everyone to just keep a close watch on the Brexit fallout, and remember that, with Game of Thrones rumored to have just two shortened seasons left in its run, by the time the UK officially exits the EU filming of the series would likely be completed.
As for shows other than Game of Thrones — aka, the television programs that do rely on the ERDF, and co-productions like The Tunnel (currently airing on PBS stateside) and SundanceTV's The Last Panthers — may feel the effects of Brexit much more, simply because getting shows like those produced and distributed throughout Europe will be much harder. According to Digital Spy, while British production companies like Sky and ITV are optimistic they will not feel a stifling of creativity due to potential new constraints on production, both companies experienced a drop in shares in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The sad reality is that many shows, particularly smaller shows, will most likely suffer as a result of Brexit in the long run. While it may be some time before the effects are seen by viewers, the industry is already bracing for a reality where making deals with other countries, creating new programming across country lines, and making certain shows a reality could become extremely difficult. Game of Thrones may be safe from any major disruptions, but the same cannot be said for some of your other favorite European-based shows.
If there is a silver lining in all of this it is Game of Thrones' battles will most likely stay contained in the fictional world of Westeros — and while Brexit will have an untold impact on the world, this is one battle the Lannisters and Starks won't have to concern themselves with too much. Unfortunately, the same is not true for the rest of the television industry.
Images: Helen Sloan/HBO (2)