COULD Bodyguard star Richard Madden be on his way to film a new blockbuster movie in County Durham?

He is one of the stars of war movie 1917 - which is people living in Teesdale believe is being filmed locally.

Film crews have been spotted at Low Force waterfall, one of the dale's main attractions.

The film is understood to be being produced by Stephen Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures and community members said they had spoken to the crew, who confirmed Sam Mendes is directing the film.

The Northern Echo: Sam Mendes' film will open the Edinburgh festival

Sam Mendes

The director's works include American Beauty and the James Bond film Skyfall, while Spielberg is known for Oscar winning films including Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan.

The Northern Echo understands the film will be based on the First World War and as well as Madden - who as well as Bodyguard also stars in Game of Thrones and the new Elton John biopic - and features actors Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch, pictured below.

The Northern Echo: Benedict Cumberbatch. Photo by Mark Douet

It is not yet known if the stars are on site, but other names said to be involved in the production include Mark Strong, Dean Charles Chapman and George MacKay.

Durham County Council has named itself a 'film friendly county' and signed a northern film and media initiative to establish the North-East as the UK's filming friendly region.

It has previously been a filming location for productions including British drama series Downton Abbey, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone and Billy Elliot.

Robin Byers, service manager of place and experience at Durham County Council, said: “We signed the Northern Film and Media’s Filming Friendly Charter, as we are keen to promote our beautiful county to a wider audience to boost the local economy and increase tourism.

"A request was made to film on private land at Low Force and we have been assisting the landowner and production company.”

It is believed film crews arrived at Low Force in March to shoot scenes reflecting northern France.

The film is also believed to have been shot in other locations across the country.

The Northern Echo understands crews are filming at Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge – which has caused concern over archaeological finds.

The film is also carrying out planning permission to shoot scenes at Glasgow's historic Govan Graving Docks.

Teesdale residents said tracks have been made through meadows to provide access to the falls, tents are being put up and security teams have been in operation.

It is thought part of the River Tees was closed to canoeists for filming.