Made in Dagenham? Sadiq Khan explores 17-acre studio in east London

The London mayor has said he is eager to sustain and expand the potential of the capital, already the third busiest film production city in the world

Sadiq Khan has co-commissioned a feasibility study into the creation of London’s largest film studio – the first of its kind in 25 years.

The London mayor has partnered with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, to investigate the cost benefits of developing a 17-acre site in Dagenham East, around 10 miles from Soho.

“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,” said Khan. “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 film-making.

Sadiq Khan.
‘London is open to the best creative and cultural minds’ … Sadiq Khan. Photograph: John Lamparski/Getty Images

“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.”

The UK’s capital is where three-quarters of the country’s movie industry is based, and is already the third busiest film production hub in the world after Los Angeles and New York. Many Hollywood blockbusters, including instalments of Star Wars, Avengers and Justice League franchises, are shot in London, at Shepperton, Pinewood (where James Bond is also filmed) and Leavesden, the Warner Bros space whose fate was sealed by the success of Harry Potter.

Artist’s impression of the new Dagenham studios
An artist’s impression of the new Dagenham studios Photograph: The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Pinewood is currently planning an expansion; large scale proposals in Bournemouth and the Pentland Hills outside Edinburgh are under review. Ealing, Elstree, 3 Mills, Twickenham, ILM and Framestore also operate near the capital.

Film London argues that further studio space would help sate increased appetite for production space in the capital and ensure that further big-budget films follow suit, “showing the world that, following the EU referendum, the capital remains open to business, talent and creativity”. Generous exchange rates in the wake of the Brexit referendum are also said to be attracting investors.

The leader of Barking and Dagenham council, Darren Rodwell said: “We are working together to create a blockbuster deal to generate hundreds of exciting opportunities for local young people and bolster Barking and Dagenham’s reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot. Our ambition is that in future, Dagenham will become world famous for films rather than Fords.”

Dagenham’s movie alumni include Dudley Moore and Nick Frost. The London suburb leant its name to the film about female workers protesting for equal pay at the local Ford factory in the late 1960s, Made in Dagenham. Some scenes in Marvel movies Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange have already been shot in the locality.


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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