Market overview: Film studios

Shinfields Studios aerial view courtesy of Scott Brownrigg

Source: Scott Brownrigg

In the latest of Building Boardroom’s market overviews, Josephine Smit looks at the booming UK film and TV studio sector

Render of Studio 3 mezzanine at RD Studios, opening April 2022. Courtesy RD

Source: RD Studios

The Studio 3 mezzanine at RD Studios, which will open in April 2022

The construction industry right now has something in common with the acting profession: both want to make it in the movies. But while actors are looking for a starring part in the film, construction’s diverse players are looking to take the best supporting role by delivering the new generation of film studio complexes.

There have been a flurry of announcements of studio schemes across the UK, with activity being driven by soaring levels of global demand for space from production companies working in feature films and streamed high-end TV (HETV) dramas. Conversion of industrial buildings and temporary structures is also helping to meet demand in the short term.

But as this sector takes off there have been questions over how many plans will convert to projects. “There is such a level of public interest around studios that proposed sites get press coverage as though they are going to happen, at a very early stage,” points out Christopher Berry, director with property consultant Lambert Smith Hampton, which last year published the report Sites, Camera, Action! Take 2.

“This is often before they have either planning or funding, and sometimes before the proposed developers even own the site,” he adds. “There’s a sense of excitement that comes with a film studio,” echoes Mark Batchelor, director at planning consultant Boyer, which worked on the planned revamp and expansion of west London’s historic Twickenham Studios.

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