Advanced Television

MPs to probe British film and high-end TV

July 21, 2023

By Colin Mann

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the UK House of Commons is to examine the current challenges faced by the British film and high-end television industry.

The new inquiry will investigate what needs to be done to maintain and enhance the UK as a global destination for production and how the independent film production sector can best be supported.

It will examine issues around skills and retention in the industry and what needs to be done to ensure the sector can adapt to challenges such as the rise of artificial intelligence.

The Committee will also be looking at the challenges for British cinemas, following the recent Cineworld restructure and the collapse of the Empire chain.

“Thousands of cinemagoers enjoying the new Barbie film this weekend will get to see the latest success story for the British film and high-end TV industry, with the construction of Barbieland from scratch at a studio in the UK demonstrating the sector’s excellent track-record in attracting blockbusters to our shores,” noted Dame Caroline Dinenage MP, Chair of the CMS Committee.

“We will be looking at how to maintain the attractiveness of the UK as a global destination for production while ensuring independent films, similar to recent hits Rye Lane and Aftersun, can be made and seen. The financial problems encountered by big name cinema chains have highlighted the importance of protecting and promoting the UK’s screen heritage, while the actors and writers strikes in the United States show the importance of getting ahead of the game in adapting skills and responding to the challenges of artificial intelligence.”

“The challenge now is to make sure the industry and Government are thinking of the future to maintain and enhance an industry that is hugely important both to the economy and to the culture of the UK and its power on the world stage,” he concluded.

The inquiry comes 20 years on from the predecessor committee’s report on the British film industry, which made recommendations around the tax regime and training and development and helped shape the modern British film industry.

Figures for 2022 released by the BFI show the combined spend by film and high-end television production reached £6.27 billion (€7.25bn), a record high and £1.83 billion higher than for 2019. High-end television production accounted for £4.3 billion, with £1.97 billion spent on feature film production. Inward investment high-end TV productions (defined as scripted television projects with a minimum core expenditure of £1 million per broadcast hour) made in 2022 included Bridgerton, Happy Valley and Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power.

The Committee is inviting written submissions by Tuesday September 19th on the following areas:

  • How attractive is the UK as a global destination for the production of film and high-end television?
    • What are the barriers to maintaining and increasing overseas investment in the sector?
    • What are the benefits and challenges of overseas investment for the UK’s film-making capacity?
  • What are the current challenges facing the UK’s independent film production sector?
    • What is the demand for and capacity for production of films with a clear British identity?
    • Are the nations and regions of the UK adequately represented and supported in the production of British films?
    • What more can be done to incentivise film and high-end television production in the UK?
    • Are the current funding routes, tax credits and governance for the industry fit for purpose?
    • What are the issues facing the UK’s film exhibition sector?
    • What more can be done to protect and promote the UK’s screen heritage?
    • What can the industry and Government do to ensure British film and high-end television can adapt for the future?
    • What should be prioritised to ensure a strong skills pipeline and retention in the film and high-end TV industry?
    • What are the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence to the sector?
    • What needs to change to ensure the industry is supporting inclusivity and sustainability.

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