The Creative District Improvement Company (TCDI Co), an investment company set up to target the UK’s booming creative industries, is set to make a ($64M) £50M investment into the expanding Twickenham Studios.
Founded in 1913, Twickenham Studios is planning to improve its historic West London site, which currently has three stages and other facilities including post-production. Movies shot there include the original Blade Runner and The Martian. The studio is also planning to open a significant new site in Liverpool.
TCDI, founded by Piers Read and Jeremy Rainbird, says it is backed by “one of the largest institutional property investment funds in the world.” It is also involved in a proposed major facility in East London’s Dagenham. The company says it is planning to invest a total of $640M in the country’s studio scene.
The UK continues to experience a boom in production, driven by record levels of inward investment, particularly from U.S. studios and the streamers. Last year, those numbers hit $4.7BN across film and TV.
However, the amount of production has put pressure on the UK’s existing studio infrastructure, and with Netflix striking a long-term deal to take over Shepperton Studios and Disney doing the same at Pinewood, availability has been squeezed. In response, a multitude of new production facilities have been announced over the last few years, though few have progressed in a significant way.
Producers looking to utilize the UK, which also boasts a good tax credit, skilled crews, and a soft currency that continues to be harmed by Brexit, will welcome TCDI’s investment with cautious optimism. The investor says it is committed to opening one million square feet of production space by 2024 – if it delivers that will be a major boost for the industry.
“The UK screen industries are enjoying an exceptional boom time and it is crucial that we capitalize on this by continuing to develop our world-class infrastructure and provide access to as much purpose built studio space as we possibly can,” commented Film London and British Film Council Chief Executive Adrian Wootton. “I am therefore delighted by today’s news of this major investment by a UK company into UK sites, including the expansion of Twickenham Studios with its rich history of attracting filmmakers, bringing benefits to the capital and indeed to the UK as a whole.”
“Despite the creative industries sector contributing 11% of the UK GDP in 2018 and growing five times faster than the national economy, increasing demand for studio and production space in the UK had threatened to derail Britain’s prosperous creative rise with a lack of funding, facilities and expertise. We at TCDI Co. have a genuine strategy that will address the space deficit and train the next generation of industry practitioners at each studio complex,” commented Anthony Lilley, Chairman TCD.
“Twickenham Studios is a much-loved studio, a world-renowned heritage brand and a fantastic trading company as well. We have significant capital to develop the estate and upgrade the facilities. As we continue to expand our operating studio platform throughout the UK,” added Piers Read.
“We are delighted to bring Twickenham Studios into the family. We are living in a golden age of content that will drive huge employment for future generations to come. As the Chairman and founding investor in Merman the Global TV, Film and Advertising Content company, I know first-hand, how very much needed initiatives and facilities like these are,“ added Jeremy Rainbird.