London Mayor Sadiq Khan is eyeing the possibility of a new film and TV studio being built in the capital. He’s teamed with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to commission a feasibility study into creating the city’s first new studio in 25 years.
A new facility would be a boon to the local production market which has been booming for several years. Hollywood studios increasingly look to shoot big-bugdet pics here at Pinewood, Shepperton and Warner Bros’ Leavesden facility. The lucrative high-end TV tax introduced in 2013 has also created a glut on soundstages with warehouses often fit out to accommodate visiting productions. What’s more, the pound’s post-Brexit freefall has made it suddenly very economical to film in Britain.
New studio space, Film London says, will help meet increasing demand and ensure many more multi-million-pound productions come to town, “showing the world that, following the EU referendum, the capital remains open to business, talent and creativity.” A new facility would join Ealing, Elstree, 3 Mills, Twickenham, ILM and Framestore in London. To keep up with demand already, Pinewood is expanding and Extraordinary Studios has embarked on plans for a facility in Bournemouth on the south coast of England in Dorset. Scotland has vied for a studio for years and is awaiting word on the Pentland proposal.
In the announcement today of the London study, Film London noted that three-quarters of the UK’s film industry is based in and around the city. Last year, it attracted £1B of inward investment from international film production and is the third busiest city for film production in the world after Los Angeles and New York.
The potential site for new studios at Dagenham East is located in front of London-east industrial park and has been scoped out because of its significantly large size upon which to build a bespoke facility. The area is well connected with the tube’s District Line and Crossrail services into Central London.
Khan said, “From James Bond and Star Wars to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones’s Baby, London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world. To sustain and grow this success story, it is critical that the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximize the opportunities for filmmaking. London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital’s film industry thrive for years to come.”
Already having shot some in Barking and Dagenham are Marvel features Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Doctor Strange, as well as TV dramas including Channel 4/AMC’s Humans.
The London Local Enterprise Partnership and Barking and Dagenham Council will invest up to £80K to develop a business case for the proposed studios. No timeline has been indicated.