Production company Bad Wolf has announced that it will open a major new television and film studio in Wales with the backing of the Welsh government. The plans come amid a production boom in Britain, with new shooting facilities being developed across the country to meet the burgeoning demand.
Wolf Studios Wales will be based in Cardiff, the Welsh capital, and is set to be one of the largest film and television facilities in Wales, marking a significant investment in the country as an international production hub for high-end television.
Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates described the move as a “strategically important acquisition” that would help meet the growing demand for studio space. “A facility of this size will ensure Wales retains a competitive advantage with enough large-scale studio space to service the productions wishing to film here,” Skates said.
Wolf Studios Wales will provide production facilities for Bad Wolf’s slate, including the company’s upcoming adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” for the BBC and New Line Cinema, which marks New Line’s first move into British television. Bad Wolf had said it would require a minimum of 200,000 square feet of shooting space, with two large stages with ceiling heights of more than 10 meters in order to accommodate its large-scale productions.
“With so many Bad Wolf productions in development, we wanted a permanent base for our productions and a user-friendly studio environment for the many other television series and films headed to Wales,” Bad Wolf CEO Jane Tranter said.
Skates said Bad Wolf’s pipeline of projects would inject more than £120 million ($155 million) into the film and TV sector in Wales.
British tax incentives have helped make the U.K. a popular destination for both film and television productions. BFI figures showed film production generated £1.6 billion ($2.1 billion) in U.K. spend in 2016, 13% up year-on-year and the highest level since records began in 1994. U.S.-studio-backed inward investment accounted for 67% of the total, bringing in £1.1 billion ($1.4 billion) from such titles as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”
High-end TV productions delivered £726 million ($937 million) in U.K. spend in 2016. Inward investment titles, such as the second season of Netflix’s “The Crown,” generated £478 million ($617 million) – also achieving a new high since records began.
As a result many studio facilities are booked up well in advance and a number of new regional hubs are being established. In April, Scottish ministers approved plans for the first purpose-built film and television studios in Scotland, located on the outskirts of Edinburgh. London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced last October that his office had launched a feasibility study of a new studio in East London that could become London’s biggest. Pinewood Studios is in the process of adding 100,000 square meters of new facilities, including 12 new stages.
Wolf Studios Wales will be based near Cardiff’s center on a lot that the Welsh government will lease on commercial terms to Bad Wolf, the production company set up in 2015 by former BBC executives Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner (pictured).
Bad Wolf, which has offices in Wales and Los Angeles, recently produced the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated HBO thriller “The Night Of,” starring Riz Ahmed. In March it was announced that Len Blavatnik’s Access Entertainment had taken a 24.9% stake in the company.