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Rankin art heist drama banned from National Galleries

THE MAKERS of a new Ian Rankin film have been banned from using a National Galleries of Scotland building, after the story depicted a heist in the same location.

The film, based on Rankin’s book Doors Open, describes a raid by an art professor, a banker and a millionaire to steal priceless paintings.

Starring Stephen Fry and Douglas Henshall, Fry’s production company had planned to use the Granton Centre of Art, on Edinburgh’s waterfront, to shoot key scenes.

The crime writer's novel was published four years ago


But staff at the National Galleries were said to be worried over possible copycat crimes.

After the book was published four years ago There was said to be ‘consternation’ people would see how to carry out a heist on the National Galleries’ property.

The plot of the film adaption has been changed, so the raid now takes place on a private gallery in the city.

The Rebus author said when he released the book it had left staff worried.

He said: “I heard on good authority that the galleries were ‘slightly worried’ because they could see how my heist might actually work.

“This may have left them scared of possible copycats.”

The building houses works of art not currently being shown in other galleries.

The Galleries pulled out of Doors Open Day, which the fictional thieves use as a cover, after officials realised how easy the raid would be to carry out.



Security was reviewed and weekly tours were also scrapped.

A spokeswoman for the National Galleries said: “We never discuss security issues for any of our sites.

“It is true that we were approached earlier this year over the possibility of filming in Granton but given the nature of the story we felt it was not appropriate.

“Although weekly tours are no longer held at the centre it is still possible to book a private tour.”

Marion Williams, director of the Cockburn group which organises Doors Open day in Edinburgh, said: “It’s an understandable decision by the Galleries not to allow filming at the collection centre if they’re worried about potential copycats.

“They took part in Doors Open day there in 2009 and 2010 but haven’t since the security review.”

Filming for the two-hour ITV drama is due to begin on 23 April.

National Museums Scotland were also approached by Fry’s Sprout Pictures, as they have another building in Granton, but nothing has been agreed as yet.

Rosie Ellison, of Edinburgh Film Focus, said: “We’re very happy that such a major new production is being filmed in Edinburgh, but we do not discuss any locations before filming takes place, although they can often change at the last minute.”


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