Netflix announces dedicated UK operation at Shepperton


Russell Crowe stars in the 2000 Ridley Scott movie, GladiatorImage copyright
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Russell Crowe starred in the 2000 Ridley Scott movie, Gladiator

Netflix has announced it’s taking a long-term lease on Shepperton Film Studios near London .

Its plan is to create a dedicated UK production hub, including 14 sound stages, workshops and office space at the site owned by the Pinewood Group.

Major films including Gladiator, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again have used the facilities.

Filming on Netflix’s action film The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron, is already underway at the studio.

The deal, believed to be in place for 10 years, will see the Netflix production hub take up 435,000 square feet of the studios.

The financial details have not been disclosed by either company.

Over the past year, 40 Netflix originals and co-productions have been created across Britain, including Sex Education in Wales, Outlaw King in Scotland and The Crown at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire.

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SOPHIE MUTEVELIAN

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Oscar-winner Olivia Colman takes over as the Queen in the next series of The Crown

Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix said the studio “has been synonymous with world class film for nearly a century”.

“We’re incredibly proud to be part of that heritage,” he went on. “This investment will ensure that British creators and producers have first rate production facilities and a world stage for their work.”

Analysis by media editor Amol Rajan

The creative industries in Britain are growing much faster than the rest of the economy. This means they will be central to the country’s future after Brexit. If you talk to the streaming giants, they say that the cheap pound, exceptional calibre of producers and writers, and huge appetite for English-language productions together make this country a hugely attractive proposition.

As a result, there is a chronic shortage of studio space in Britain. When demand vastly exceeds supply, prices rise. When prices rise, the poor are priced out. It follows that while a giant like Netflix – the biggest company in film and television anywhere in the world today – says they want studio space at Shepperton, they get it. But for the smaller companies desperate for facilities where their creative impulses can flow, there is still not nearly enough usable space.

Eventually, this will get built, as part of an investment-in-infrastructure programme. In the meantime, the marriage of Netflix and Shepperton – one of the most storied names in all cinema – shows that when the best of the new and the best of the old come together, Britain is the location. At some point, politicians will notice, and look to take advantage.

Pinewood group chairman, Paul Golding, added the deal with Netflix was part of a wider £500m expansion which will see them build an additional 22 sound stages (16 at Shepperton and six at Pinewood), thus “enabling us to host even more productions.”

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US actor Gary Lockwood on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was written and directed by Stanley Kubrick

Over the past decade the growth of the UK film/TV industry has significantly outpaced that of the UK economy.

Dedicated production space, therefore, is in short supply and specialist property agents Lambert Smith Hampton estimate there is a current shortage of studio space in the UK the size of more than one hundred football pitches.

Netflix and its partners will produce new and existing TV series and feature films.

Earlier this year Netflix’s Roma won three Oscars – including best foreign language film.

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