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London aims for starring role in film industry with plan for new studios

Published 06/10/2016

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is behind the plan to build a large film studio in Dagenham
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is behind the plan to build a large film studio in Dagenham

London will attempt to steal the march on Hollywood with a blockbuster plan to build the capital's biggest film studios.

Around £80,000 is being spent on fleshing out a proposal to create a new studio in Dagenham to meet the rising demand for studio space from international film companies.

The project is being spearheaded by Film London, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Barking and Dagenham Council.

It would mark the first time a studio had been built in the capital for 25 years.

"From James Bond and Star Wars to Harry Potter and Bridget Jones's Baby, London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world," Mr Khan said.

"To sustain and grow this success story, it is critical that the capital gets significantly more studio and production capacity to maximise the opportunities for filmmaking.

"London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital's film industry thrive for years to come."

Film London said it has pinpointed a potential site for the new studios in Dagenham East, near the London East business and technical park.

Generous tax breaks and world-class film crew and facilities have led to a rise in the number of international film companies wanting to shoot in the capital over recent years.

Around £1 billion in inward investment was channelled into London from global film production companies last year, making it the world's third-busiest city for film production after New York and Los Angeles.

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: "Our global reputation means demand for studio space is incredibly high, and unlocking new studio space in east London would help maintain the capital's competitive edge.

"If realised, this major new infrastructure project would mean a tremendous economic boost for Barking and Dagenham, the capital's film and TV industries and the UK as a whole."

The announcement comes after Pinewood Studios, home to James Bond and Star Wars, said last month that it would expand into China, as it looks to capitalise on growing demand in the ''flourishing Chinese film industry'' for its services.

The group, which is set to be acquired by Aermont Capital for £323 million, said it has opened a representative office in Beijing, headed by Amanda Halliday.

London is home to about three-quarters of the UK's film industry.

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