UK TV production rebounds to hit new record after pandemic slump

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Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma in Bridgerton series twoImage source, LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
Image caption,
The second series of Netflix's Bridgerton has recently been filmed in the UK

A record £4bn was spent making TV shows in the UK in the past year - almost double the figure before the pandemic.

TV production slumped during lockdown but rebounded to a new high between October 2020 and September 2021, the British Film Institute (BFI) has said.

Some £4.14bn was spent filming British and foreign shows like Bridgerton and Peaky Blinders in the UK in that time.

That compares with the £2.3bn spent in the same period in 2018-19, and is 10 times more than was spent in 2013.

The latest figure includes money spent by British TV channels on home-made series like Doctor Who, The Bay, Shetland and Ghosts.

It also includes forthcoming streaming shows like The Essex Serpent from Apple TV+, Andor from Disney+ and Netflix productions like The Sandman and the new series of Bridgerton.

Netflix alone spent £740m making 60 TV shows and films in the UK in 2020, the BFI said, and has recently announced plans to double the size of its base at Shepperton Studios in Surrey.

Amazon is also moving production of its epic Lord of the Rings series from New Zealand to the UK.

BFI chief executive Ben Roberts said the UK's screen industries "have bounced back faster than almost any other industry post-pandemic".

He said: "As we look to the future we need to ensure that we stay on top of our game - by building the skilled workforce this level of production critically needs and increasing investment in areas across the UK where there are opportunities for growth and innovation."

'A new golden age'

Meanwhile, £1.8bn was spent on film production between October 2020 and September 2021, not far behind the 2018-19 level, the BFI said.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: "We have embarked on a new golden age for film and TV, one that provides unrivalled opportunities for our industry, our economy and our communities to stimulate long-term job creation and prosperity for the whole of UK.

"It is more important than ever that we continue to focus on, invest and build the additional stage space, and skills base, right across our nations and regions."

Tax relief for film-makers was introduced in 2007 and extended to "high-end" TV shows in 2013, and has been credited with attracting more foreign productions to the UK.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the figures showed "how important government action has been in driving unprecedented growth across the screen industries".

"We have backed our incredible screen sector during the pandemic, through the UK Film & TV Production Restart Scheme and the Culture Recovery Fund, to ensure the country cements its reputation as being the best place in the world to shoot high-end film and TV," she added.

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