International film and TV production spend in the UK reaches record levels


• £1.35 billion UK spend from inward investment feature films, including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Transformers: The Last Knight, The Mummy and Ready Player One


• £478 million inward investment spend from high-end television, with US-backed ’return business’ playing a major part in the UK’s success


Figures released today reveal a record-breaking year for inward investment from film and high-end TV, demonstrating the British Film Commission’s success in working with Government and industry to attract and support major international productions. The figures show inward investment production spend in 2016 topping £1.3 billion, underlining the UK’s status as the best place in the world to make film and television.


The figures, released by the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit, show inward investment spend on feature films reached £1.35 billion – the highest figure since records began and an 18% increase on the previous year’s figures. Inward investment titles represented 85% of total UK spend, which reached a record £1.596 billion in 2016. UK-shot titles contributing to this banner year include Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Mummy and Ready Player One, while Transformers: The Last Knight demonstrated the UK’s one-stop-shop offer for major productions, shooting, as it did, in all four nations of the UK.


2016 was also a boom year for high-end TV production, which generated a record £478 million in inward investment spend – an 11% increase on 2015 and proof positive that the High-end Television Tax Relief remains a significant draw for overseas production companies. The strength of the UK’s offer is evident in the numerous ‘repeat business’ titles such as Game Of Thrones, Outlander and The Royals, with the UK’s regions and nations demonstrating their capacity to attract major TV titles and ensure business keeps coming back.


This record spend was reflected in the BFC’s own activity, with the Commission’s UK and US teams seeing their busiest year yet when it came helping secure major productions for the UK, and ensuring productions ran smoothly. Alongside guidance on the UK’s generous and reliable creative sector tax reliefs; advice on logistics and support during production, the BFC organises tailored inward investment-boosting initiatives in both the UK and in the US, working in partnership with industry stakeholders throughout the UK’s regions and nations to ensure a flow of new business and lasting international relationships.


Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said: “If like me you love film, you’ll love this news of record breaking levels of UK production. These record-breaking production statistics demonstrate that the UK’s world-leading film sector continues to thrive and that Britain remains open for business. With inward investment levels for film and television at new highs, we will continue to build on this tremendous success, forging a global Britain that remains the centre for attracting and developing the world’s best creative talent.”


Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission and Film London, said: “2016 was a banner year for the UK’s film and TV industries, which attracted record levels of inward investment and some of the world’s most ambitious productions. Our industry offers the ‘complete package’ in terms of talent, skills, facilities, VFX expertise and competitive tax reliefs, so it’s no wonder international film and TV clients continue to make the UK their destination of choice. This said, we know we cannot be complacent: these are times of unprecedented change, and global competition for big titles has never been greater. As such we have to do everything we can to retain existing business and create new opportunities, and the BFC remains absolutely committed to this aim.”


To see the many other feature film and high-end TV shows that were made in the UK in 2016, take a look at our showreel.