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The Sun Continues to Rise for Film and Television Production in UK

What happened to change the global dynamic of production?

15 Aug 2022

It is not just the temperature that is reaching a record high. There has never been a `hotter time` for Film and Television production in the UK. Within the next two years there will be more studio space here than in Los Angeles. The next generation who have the talent of a Hitchcock, Chaplin or Archibald Leach, (Cary Grant to most of the world), will not have to go West to establish their careers.

So, what has happened to change the global dynamic of production? Well, as ever there are a plethora of factors combined perhaps with pure chance.

Film Tax Credit: 20 or so years ago the Government recognised the huge benefits to the economy of having films and television production sited in the UK. Most Budgets are taken up by the cost of people, who pay tax and national insurance and then spend money to live. Studio, location, special effects costs, etc. are all then ploughed into the economy. The present film tax credit regime is easy to understand 25% of 80% of all eligible expenditure, and that includes pre and postproduction. The credit is handed over as a cash rebate and if necessary, the Producer can obtain finance on this to help cash flow.

Location Assistance: Going back 15 or so years ago there were numerous difficulties faced for Producers trying to get permits to film on roads, parks, tourist attractions etc. Film production was often seen as an inconvenience. This is no longer the case. Various film bodies including the British Film Council, Film London and the British Film Institute have overseen a regime to help film makers obtain permits at regulated and consistent rates.

Culture: The UK remains an attractive place to live and work; a robust education structure combined with a mature and sophisticated legal, finance, insurance and banking infrastructure. It offers enrichment and entertainment through the arts and sport.

Crews: the skills of British crews are recognised worldwide. It is all very well pitching up at an overseas location which has a preferable tax subsidy, but at the end of the day the skill of the camera man, set manager, construction crew, grip etc. are vital to getting the production made within Budget at a high quality

Visual Effects: this has become a bigger feature for all productions, not just Sci Fi. Britain has a hub of highly specialist visual effects houses

Although not unique to UK, the country seems always to have produced an amazing number of talented Directors (Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock), Producers (Powell and Pressbuger, David Puttman, Emerald Fennell) Writers (Julian Fellowes, Peter Morgan, Richard Curtis) and as for Actors, the list is endless, Helen Mirren, Peter Sellers, Lawrence Olivier, Richard Burton, Julie Andrews to name just a few

And to wrap around all the above are studios within easy reach of London, Pinewood, Bray, Shepperton, Leavesden in addition to studios throughout the UK including Belfast, Liverpool, Bristol and Manchester.

All in all the sun shines bright and I can’t see a sunset anytime soon.

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