NEWS that Bradford’s City of Film team is to have a base in China - to develop projects with the world’s fastest-growing film industry - can only be a good thing for us. Right?

Not according to a particularly dreary online response to the T&A report on Bradford’s China link this week: “Bradford has become the city of photograph a slum. I’m sure the Chinese will love...our post-imperial industrial and financial decay.”

Apart from being a predictably negative knee-jerk response, this comment reveals a shameful ignorance of the range of film shot in this district. In the past year alone these have included global hit Peaky Blinders, a TV series about the Gunpowder Plot, other period dramas, a contemporary love story, a spooky thriller and a rural family saga. Not a “post-industrial slum” tale among them.

These aren't low-budget indie films no-one will watch. They’re major productions with big-name actors - Bill Nighy, Cillian Murphy, Maxine Peake, Ruth Wilson, Paddy Considine, Sean Bean, Martin Freeman and Daniel Mays among them.

Currently on release is The Limehouse Golem, a murder mystery in which Keighley’s Dalton Mills doubles as fog-filled streets and music halls of Victorian London, and God’s Own Country, an award-winning movie described as “Yorkshire's Brokeback Mountain”, shot near Haworth.

In October three films made locally - Dark River, shot in Skipton; Ghost Stories, Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman's adaptation of their Olivier-nominated play, partly filmed in Saltaire; and Funny Cow, set on the 1950s-80s northern club circuit and filmed in Saltaire, Shipley and Bradford - will be shown at the London Film Festival; a major event in the industry calendar.

This week I spoke to Kevin Procter, producer of Funny Cow, who loved working here so much he's planning to make his next film here too. "Places like Saltaire and Little Germany are cinematic," he said. "It was all there; we didn't need to build a set." Far from being a "grim up North" film, he says Funny Cow is about "humanity, community and people having a good time". Kevin had much praise for Bradford people and the City of Film team, which helped with locations, crew and the logistics of filming in public spaces.

The district benefits in various ways from films and TV productions shot here. Sally Wainwright's Bronte drama To Walk Invisible boosted tourism in and around Haworth after it was screened last Christmas, and City of Film director David Wilson is confident that films such as The Limehouse Golem and Funny Cow will do the same. "The knock-on benefit is that the area is talked about in a very positive light," he says. "This is great for the region in terms of visitor numbers."

There are other benefits too. When a production team rocks up for a film shoot lasting several weeks or months, cast and crew stay in local hotels and apartments, and use local shops, bars and restaurants. Earlier this year Game of Thrones star Kit Harington and American actress Liv Tyler caused a stir when they were spotted in a Saltaire bistro. Kit lived in the village for the six-month shoot.

The City of Film team calls on local businesses for various film shoot jobs, from catering to driving actors. Now it is to have an office in Qingdao, the next UNESCO City of Film. With China's rising film industry proving hugely lucractive, potential investment opportunities for Bradford are immense, and collaborations are already underway. That doesn't sound like "industrial decay" to me.

* HOW fabulous that a group of young cricketers from Bradford have won an Inspirational Women award.

The Carlton Bolling girls squad received the award a day after being pipped to winning a national tournament at Lord's by just two runs. The team, crowned North of England champions this summer, is made up of Muslim girls and PE teacher Zaheer Jaffary had a tough job convincing families to let their daughters join. He said there are still "a lot of people who want to make life difficult for these girls. All they want is to play cricket."

Now the squad is to appear on Loose Women, and a documentary is planned. What an inspiration they are, in getting other girls into sport. Surely it can't be long before their story hits the big screen...

* NEWS that part of the former Brown Muff & Co could be turned into an aparthotel has prompted memories of the old department store. Once known as the ‘Harrods of the North’, it was the pride of the city centre for over a century. When it was later taken over by House of Fraser, and became Rackhams, it maintained the genteel ambience that customers valued, right down to the doorman in uniform.

So what a shame that the old Brown Muff sign still visible on the building looks so dilapidated. It may be a retail relic, but this lovely sign could do with some TLC to preserve it.