Boom in UK high-end TV production in 2018 | Media Analysis | Business
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Official figures published by the British Film Institute’s Research and Statistics Unit have revealed continued growth and continued high levels of production investment across the high-end TV sector.
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The figures says the BFI, reinforces the UK’s global reputation as a world-leading centre for film and TV production. Overall spending in film and high-end television production in the UK was just over £3.1 billion and the BFI calculated that for the television sector alone interim spend was £1.173 billion across 119 productions; an increase of 4% on 2017’s consolidated spend and also the highest level of spend since the introduction of tax relief in 2013.

Of the 119 high-end TV titles, 55 were domestic UK productions with a spend of £378.0 million, a 19% increase from the consolidated spend of £319 million in 2017. Domestic UK high-end TV titles include Luther, The War of the Worlds, Tin Star, The ABC Murders, The Cry, Ghosts, Derry Girls, Torville & Dean, Death and Nightingales, Clique, Gold Digger and The Trial of Christine Keeler.

The 64 other inward investment and co-production high-end TV productions delivered an interim spend of £794.5 million which is the second highest level since reporting began. Although the 2018 interim figure shows a decrease of 2% compared with 2017’s consolidated spend, the BFI noted that at this point last year the interim spend was £684.0 million across 49 productions. High-end international TV productions made in the UK last year include The Crown, Krypton, The Rook, The Spanish Princess, His Dark Materials, Pennyworth, Four Weddings and a Funeral. High-end TV productions due to go into production this year include The War of the Worlds, Dracula, Alex Rider and Outlander, which has been based in Scotland since 2013, has been recommissioned for a further two seasons.

On publication of the report, the BFI identified 20 animation television programmes that had gone into production in the UK in 2018, with a spend of £39.6 million. Of these, 15 were domestic UK productions and 5 were inward investment or co-productions. Animation programmes that went into production in 2018 include Norm of the Forest, Jessy & Nessy, Hey Duggee Series 3, Bing Series 4, Go Jetters Series 3 and Clangers Series 3.

Commenting on the BFI’s research, CEO Amanda Nevill said: “In a time of seismic change, today’s figures prove that film and television are thriving, a vital creative industry that is outstripping other sectors. The benefits are being felt UK-wide with production expanding in the nations and regions, boosting the economy, building skills, creating jobs and giving opportunities for people of all backgrounds to join our industry...Audiences are increasingly watching film and television on a variety of platforms and at the same time are going to the cinema more than ever. Such a healthy market share for independent UK films suggests that audiences’ appreciation for home grown stories, as well as big global blockbusters, is on the rise.”

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, added: “It is hugely rewarding to see today’s figures reflecting the UK’s flourishing screen sectors. Film and high-end TV are big business and year after year we are privileged to welcome inward investment productions to every region and nation of the UK, drawn here by our global reputation as a leading centre for world-class talent, facilities and technical expertise.”