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The U.K.’s ongoing production boom is showing no sign of slowing down, or even plateauing.
According to new figures from the British Film Institute, film and high-end TV production topped 5.64 billion pounds ($7.67 billion) in 2021, a new record and way ahead of pre-pandemic production levels (which were already soaring). The period of April to June saw some 2.29 billion pounds ($3.11 billion) in spending, the highest three-month period for film and high-end TV on record by some margin and far outstripping the 1.54 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) generated July to September 2019.
High-end TV production is, once again, the engine behind the phenomenal surge, with shows such as Bridgerton, Ted Lasso, The Witcher, Killing Eve, His Dark Materials and many others pushing 2021’s TV spend to 4.09 billion pounds ($5.55 billion), almost double pre-pandemic levels. The figure — from 211 productions — is 155 percent higher than COVID-impacted 2020 and 85 percent higher than the previous record of 2.21 billion pounds ($3 billion) generated in 2019. Within this 2021 amount, domestic TV production made up 648 million pounds ($879 million), a 32 percent rise over 2019 levels pre-pandemic.
Film, on the other hand, rose 13 percent in 2021 from 2020 to 1.55 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) thanks to major studio titles such as The Batman, Aquaman 2, and Mission: Impossible 7, of which domestic independent spend rose 39 percent on 2020 to 221 million pounds ($300 million).
Of the over 2021 figure, inward investment and co-production films and high-end TV shows accounted for 84 percent or 4.77 billion pounds ($6.5 billion). Of this, high-end TV made up for 3.44 billion pounds ($4.66 billion), or 72 percent of the combined total spend, and films accounted for 1.33 billion pounds ($1.8 billion), or 28 percent of the spend.
In total, 209 films went into production in the U.K. in 2021, 75 more than COVID-impacted 2020.
“The record-breaking level of film and TV production in the U.K. revealed today is good news for our industry and the U.K. economy and demonstrates the speed of the sector’s recovery,” said BFI chief executive Ben Roberts. “The groundwork for further growth is underway with expansion of studio spaces and production hotspots across our nations and regions, and working with industry to build up the skilled workforce that we need to meet demand and stay on top of our game. Government support for production with the screen sector tax reliefs and the Film & TV Production Restart Scheme have played an important part in the industry’s growth and recovery.”
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