The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has backed a plan to look into building what could become the city’s largest film and TV studios. The production facility, which would be based in Dagenham, on the eastern edge of the city, would be the first studios to be built for 25 years in London, which is the world’s third-busiest city for film production.
The mayor has teamed up with production support agency Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel, and the borough of Barking and Dagenham to commission a feasibility study into creating the studios. The process will be led by Film London in consultation with the film and television industries.
About three-quarters of the British film industry is based in and around London, and last year £1 billion ($1.27 billion) was attracted to the city in inward investment from international film production, according to Film London. Only Los Angeles and New York attract more film production. London’s world-class crews, varied locations, talent and 25% tax relief for film and TV projects have sustained London’s position, which has meant high demand for studio space.
The potential site for the studios in Dagenham is located at the LondonEast Industrial Park and has been scoped out because of its large size. Train links with Central London are good.
The London Local Enterprise Partnership and Barking and Dagenham Borough Council will invest up to £80,000 ($101,000) to develop a business case for the proposed new studios. “This will look in close detail at the demand for such a facility and the economic benefit that it could bring to East London and the city as a whole,” according to a statement.
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 film-making. 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.”
The Film Office in the borough of Barking and Dagenham has attracted a number of big-budget films, such as “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Doctor Strange,” and TV dramas including the BBC’s “Undercover” and Channel 4 sci-fi thriller “Humans.”
Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London is one of the world’s busiest destinations for the film industry, with international filmmakers making a beeline for our city because they know it offers the very best by way of facilities, expertise and creative talent. Our global reputation means demand for studio space is incredibly high, and unlocking new studio space in East London would help maintain the capital’s competitive edge.”