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BBC Dramas, Kids Shows Among First to Benefit From U.K. TV, Animation Tax Credits

Jane Austen-inspired mystery miniseries "Death Comes to Pemberley," crime drama "By Any Means" and kids show "Sarah and Duck" have been guaranteed tax breaks.

LONDON – The British Film Institute (BFI) on Friday announced the first projects that will be able to take advantage of tax credits launched earlier this year for high-end TV and animation productions.

Three BBC dramas and a couple of animated kids projects have been guaranteed the 25 percent tax break for programs that cost $1.56 million (£1 million) or more per hour. But overall, more than 30 guarantees have been issued, with the rest of the projects not immediately named.

The dramas are Red Planet Pictures-produced six-part crime drama By Any Means, Origin Pictures’ three-part Jane Austen-inspired mystery miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley and Mammoth Screen’s three-part mystery Remember Me. All shows are set to air on BBC One.

BBC kids network CBeebies got guarantees for tax incentives for two shows -- animated Sarah and Duck and stop-motion series Calamity Island.

Following receipt of a BFI certificate, productions can apply for tax relief on any production spend incurred since April 1.

"This is another landmark in the government’s continued commitment to supporting the creative industries, a sector that continues to make an important contribution to economic growth and help bolster our position in the global race," said U.K. creative industries minister Ed Vaizey.

"TV producers are keen to create shows that can compete in the international market and rival films in terms of production values, talent and storytelling," said Red Planet production executive Alex Jones. "The tax credits are an important step toward helping ambitious independent production companies like Red Planet close the finance on projects here in Britain without having to leave the country to save money."

Anna Mansi, head of the BFI certification unit, said: "It’s been fantastic to see the first certificates issued this week for a host of exciting new U.K. projects. We want to let producers working across animation and high-end television know the U.K. is open for business, and the BFI’s highly expert team is ready and waiting to take your call."

Projects submitted for tax incentives consideration must qualify as British either via a cultural test or as an official co-production under a co-production treaty.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai