St Catz takes centre stage in new TV pilot

College News News

St Catz is taking to the small screen this week as it features in the new independently produced British spy drama Chokepoint.

The show was shot in locations around College, such as the SCR and the Bernard Sunley Building. The full pilot episode was released online last Saturday.

Director SG Smith said the Bernard Sunley Building was a good location due to its “idiosyncratic architecture.

“[It] was a good fit with the overall aesthetic of the show – it had the ‘60s look and feel I wanted and can be menacing from the right angles, very cinematic,” he said.

“We also shot at New College in the Bursar’s office and cloisters, in the Radcliffe Science Library, Material Sciences buildings, and several other campuses.”

When asked about his experience filming at St Catz, Smith said: “The Bursar James Bennett was very accommodating from the start and enabled us to shoot pretty much wherever we wanted.

“We had a great time shooting at Catz but sadly several scenes we shot there, including a big chess match did not make it into the final show when the running time had to be cut,” he added.

Chokepoint centers on a group of student “hacktivists” at Oxford University. According to a description of the show, it sees cultures colliding “in the treacherous world of industrial espionage.”

“A burnt-out old school spy attempts to turn a bunch of reluctant young cyber truants into an effective counter intelligence unit, while thwarting sinister forces determined to settle old scores.”

However, it appears not that many St Catz students are aware of the new TV show. Vice-President of St Catz JCR, Ashleigh Ainsley, said: “I actually had no clue this was happening in College.”

“There was no impact upon the students of Catz during the filming that I was aware of and we were not told of any filming.”

He did express some concerns about the potential tourism the TV show might attract to the college. “I am quite ambivalent if we are on TV, although I wouldn’t want us to become a college that attracts anything other than Arne Jacobson tourists. It may cause disruption to people’s lives as is the case with Christ Church and other tourist-popular colleges.”

It appears, though, that the underground film community in the UK has responded positively.

Tim Radar, voice and bass of the band Off the Radar, tweeted, “#Chokepoint TV series looks awesome.”

Self-described filmmaker, musician, and writer from Manchester, UK, Brian Ellwood, commented: “Well done. Excellent production, great photography, pace, acting and script! Got to grab an audience.”

For this week only, the full pilot episode can be viewed online.