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James Nesbitt and Timothy Spall filming for new Sky Christmas drama in Co Antrim

James Nesbitt and Timothy Spall are the latest stars to be filming in County Antrim as production gets underway for Sky's new Christmas drama 'Joy to the World'.

If you happened to see Santa Claus, Christmas Lights and decorations in Monkstown last week, you were not imagining it! Christmas came early to the area as Abbeytown Square was transformed into a film set.

Set to hit screens this coming festive season, the brand new film features Spall and Nesbitt as two Santas with very different agendas.

Twelve-year-old Mikey Collins, who’s dirt-poor and hates Christmas, finds two Santa Clauses in the woods. One has just robbed a bank (James Nesbitt) and is on the run with the cash, the other Santa (Timothy Spall) claims to have fallen out of his sleigh. Mikey has no time for this second guy – he’s well past believing any of the Jingle Bells, spirit-of-the-season rubbish, even if his little brother Sean insists on treating the old man like a superstar.

Instead, Mikey’s determined to get his hands on the bank-robber’s cash, convinced that this is the answer to giving his family the Christmas they all crave. But as Mikey risks everything for the loot, he comes to realise that maybe the spirit of Christmas is alive after all…

Commenting on his role in the movie, James Nesbitt said:

“It is incredibly exciting to be back in Belfast and part of something that is both funny, heartwarming and yet which also holds a mirror up to society. The script lifts your spirits while brilliantly addressing the cost of living crisis affecting so many families in the UK and Ireland right now. It’s also a joy to be reunited with my old cell mate Timothy Spall.”

Timothy Spall said:

“I’m delighted to be involved with this unique festive adventure. It’s a rare thing that a story has the perfect mixture of social commentary grit, suspense, emotional bite and original comedy, plus a myriad of Santas (one of them possibly the real one)! I’m looking forward to working with Ed Hall and the fabulous team that’s being packed up into what promises to be an extremely novel festive pressie!”

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross, pictured with James Nesbitt.
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross, pictured with James Nesbitt.


Filming for the new Sky production took place last week creating much excitement for the local County Antrim residents. 


The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross popped along to the set last week. He commented:

“It is great to welcome this Sky production to our Borough. Filming in Northern Ireland as a whole has really taken off over the last number of years and for Monkstown to be part of this prestigious production is a great boost for the local residents.”


Councillor Mark Cooper BEM, vice-chair of Monkstown Jubilee Centre who has worked closely with the TV crew during the filming added:

“I am delighted that Monkstown was chosen as the location for this new Christmas drama and I look forward to seeing the final production when it hits our screens later this year.”


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