Lights, cameras and action in the valleys as work begins on Welsh film studio complex.

Oscar-winning director Lord Richard Attenborough has finally called “action!” to mark the start of construction of the Film Studio Development at Llanilid in Rhonda Cynon Taf. As chairman of Dragon International Studios, Lord Attenborough has championed the bid to build the studios, along with Stuart Villiard, chairman of Westair Properties, since 2000. Critics did not believe their plans would ever be realised.

The first five studios are due to be complete in February 2006, and will be used for TV dramas and low-budget films. Subject to detailed planning permission, construction of Dragon International Studio’s main complex will begin in October of this year, and be complete in the spring 0f 2007.

Lord Attenborough said that if permission was given the studios would be able to offer “a whole range of further facilities to house television production, international feature films and multi-media businesses by the spring of 2007.”

The 317-acre site is part of a brownfield development that will include a new railway station, a hospital, a theme park and nature reserves. Infrastructure for the site will be provided by Cofton (Wales) Ltd, while Westair Properties will build the studios. The project has secured European Objective One funding, and will create more than 1700 new jobs in the area.