Film-making in Dagenham ‘can be bigger than its car industry’


Dagenham could become the  capital’s new film-making hub under ambitious plans to rival the likes of Pinewood and Elstree studios.

The owners of Londoneast-uk Business and Technical Park are in talks to bring production facilities to east London in the hope of attracting Hollywood films and TV dramas.

The 17-acre site has been used as a filming location for superhero movie Avengers: Age of Ultron starring Robert Downey Jr, as well as hit Channel 4 series Humans.

It is currently hosting New Blood, a seven-part BBC crime drama written by Anthony Horowitz.

John Lewis, managing director of SOG Group which owns the site, now wants to create a studio giving production companies full filming and processing capabilities. These are only available at a handful of locations mostly to the west or north of the capital such as Elstree in Borehamwood, Herts and Pinewood in Iver Heath, Bucks.

Mr Lewis said: “The film industry and high-end television attracted £1.5 billion of production spend in the UK last year and there are fantastic opportunities for more growth but we haven’t got the capacity to meet this demand.

“If we do, I believe London could help double that level of investment to £3 billion over the next few years and it is up to the industry to grasp this opportunity. I can see the potential for the film industry in Dagenham to become bigger than the car industry was.”

Film-makers have complained of a shortage of studio space in and around the capital with director Ridley Scott choosing Budapest over London to shoot new sci-fi thriller The Martian starring Matt Damon.

Scott has been joined by the likes of Danny Boyle in backing the expansion of Pinewood Studios, but is still likely to film his sequel to Prometheus overseas as Pinewood is booked-up for the new Star Wars movies.

Mr Lewis is speaking to Film London about turning the former pharmaceutical plant in Dagenham into a new hub creating jobs for rigging, lighting, costume, make-up and other ancillary movie-related businesses.

If successful the studio facilities could become operational by the end of next year or early 2017.

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