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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Angus Robertson warns of UK threat to Scotland’s booming film and TV industry

THE value of the Scottish TV and film industry could double to £1 billion by the end of the decade, Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson has said – as he warned the UK Government risks undermining a key element of the success.

He spoke yesterday as Screen Scotland published the first comprehensive study showing the value of Scotland’s film and TV industries to the development of the economy and employment sector.

Commissioned by Screen Scotland and produced by Saffery Champness and Nordicity, the report found that the screen sector in Scotland contributed £567.6 million in 2019, providing 10,280 full-time jobs.

Director of screen at Screen Scotland David Smith said: “This report confirms how strong Scotland’s screen sector was in 2019.

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“Significantly, the report also reveals that the UK’s public service broadcasters, particularly the BBC and Channel 4, were the cornerstones in our creative economy in 2019.

“They spent an estimated £196.6 million on content production in Scotland in 2019 and a further £61.1m on their broadcasting support operations in Scotland, such as transmission, sales and marketing, administration and other overheads.”

Robertson accused the UK Government of undermining public broadcasting, which he described as the “cornerstone” of TV production in Scotland.

He said: “Right across the piece in Scotland, we can be hugely pleased with the progress that’s been made in recent years.

“We need to make sure that we avoid bumps in the road, which unfortunately we are currently facing with the UK Government and seeking to undermine public service broadcasters like Channel 4, which it is looking at privatising, and what it is doing with the BBC licence fee.

“These are bad developments for public service broadcasters who are still the cornerstone of TV production in Scotland.”

Both Screen Scotland and Robertson said the £568m figure is expected to have risen following the boom in demand for productions in Scotland in 2021, which have included Indiana Jones, Batman, Batgirl and The Rig, starring Martin Compston.

Robertson added: “This report confirms that the value of the industry is now three times larger than was previously thought to be the case.

“If the growth trend continues, it will grow from half a billion pounds to £1bn by the year 2030. This is tremendous news for the Scottish economy in general.

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“We’ve gone from a situation in Scotland where we have had very little in the way of film and TV productions, very limited studio space, very limited investment, and very limited career prospects. And this has all been totally turned around in recent years, with a proliferation of new studios.

“The Scottish Government is trying to help the growth trend continue in terms of helping to secure studio space, helping to secure new television and film productions, but then also help assist in the training of people who want to work in the film and TV industry.”

Director Douglas Mackinnon, who shot in Scotland for Good Omens, said: “People who work in the screen sector in Scotland have in their gift a chance to go even further than we already have in our very successful recent period, by supporting large-scale productions as well as bringing through Scottish voices with confidence onto an international platform. It’s great to see the full value of film and TV recognised in this report.”

The report covers 2018 to 2019. A follow-up study of 2021 will be published in early 2023.



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