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640 UK films, TV shows in production in past year

July 28, 2021

More than 600 feature films and television productions have gone into production in the UK since the scheme was announced in July last year as the industry has moved into pandemic recovery thanks to the Government funded Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.

The scheme was launched by the Government backed by £500 million to support films and television productions which were ready to start or restart but unable to secure insurance against potential Coronavirus-related delays and interruptions such as illness amongst key cast and crew.

Launched for registrations in October last year, allowing claims backdated to July, the scheme has enabled productions to get off the ground in the second half of 2020 and has helped the sector to bounce back and record the second highest spend (£1.19 billion) for any quarter on record at the end of last year.

To date the scheme has enabled:

  • 640 independent films and television productions to start or restart within a year of the Scheme being set up
  • A total budget spend of £1.9 billion across the 640 productions on the Scheme, enabling the UK production sector to be a significant contributor to the UK economy
  • More than 55,000 jobs to be provided by the productions which have registered with the Scheme

The scheme has been kept under review as the sector has recovered from the impact of the pandemic and was extended to provide cover until the end of this year as part of the Budget.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I’ve seen firsthand how this scheme has been a lifeline during this pandemic,  keeping the cameras rolling on TV and film sets across the country, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the process – from actors, make-up artists and technicians all the way to catering companies and transport firms. Thanks to this scheme, our screen industry is raring to go -– and British-made productions will be at the heart of our recovery.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, added: “Our world-leading film and TV industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs – that’s why it was so important we helped it to get up and running again as part of our Plan for Jobs. It’s great that one year on since its launch the Restart Scheme has given so many productions the confidence to keep shooting, supporting jobs across the UK and producing the film and TV we all love.”

Several productions registered with the scheme have returned or are returning to UK screens shortly including The Bay, Midsomer Murders, Peaky Blinders and Gentleman Jack. The film Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth has just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and Boxing Day, the UK’s first ever festive romantic comedy starring an all-black cast were films which registered early with the scheme. Terence Davies’ Benediction starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi has just been announced for screening at the San Sebastian and Toronto International Film Festival, both taking place in September.

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: “We make high quality film and television content enjoyed by audiences at home and around the world, demonstrating the skills and expertise of our world-class crew, cast and production businesses.  The pandemic brought production to a halt early last year and unable to restart without insurance cover against potential COVID disruption, however the Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme has been a game-changer for the industry’s recovery. A year down the line we are looking at a booming sector attracting further commercial investment and opportunities for more jobs and contributing to the UK’s economy.”

John McVay, Pact CEO said: “At a time when UK TV and film productions were looking as if they would never get back to work, the Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme provided the critical business support for the sector, enabling them to start or re-start their productions, keeping people in jobs and getting new content on UK screens. Productions across the UK play an important role in the wider economy too, providing income for locations, catering companies, transport firms and many more. So the scheme’s benefits extend beyond just our sector. One year on and UK TV and Film production is thriving thanks to the Government’s support. As we move through the recovery phase, the continued confidence that the scheme provides is as vital as ever, and remains essential where commercial insurance is absent.”

Hakan Kousetta, co-founder and joint Managing Director of 60Forty Films and Chair of the Pact Council, said: “The Government Restart Scheme has been an amazing success story. It has allowed the sector to thrive through the darkest days of Covid, and in doing so, ensured billions of pounds have been poured into the wider UK economy. As we all learn to operate in a world where Covid continues to subsist, the Restart Scheme has become a pillar upon which the future success of the sector rests. Hopefully its incredible effectiveness makes it a no-brainer for the Government to continue to operate the scheme in the future.”

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