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UK’s high-end drama boom leads to £2.6m in levy funds

The UK’s booming production schedule in television drama saw a record £2.6 ($3.63) million paid in contributions to the High-end TV (HETV) Levy fund last year, according to UK body Creative Skillset.

Over 100 high-end productions including Game of Thrones, Poldark, Luther, Derry Girls, The Durrells, Black Mirror, Shetland, Call the Midwife and Peaky Blinders, made the payments into the HETV Fund.

This supports skills and training courses including ‘Trainee Finder’, the entry-level TV drama placement programme, and ‘Make a Move’, which offers on-the-job training for crew identified by productions as ready to move into a more senior role.

In 2017/18 the HETV Levy supported 1,086 individuals to begin or progress their HETV careers including directors, writers, producers, craft and tech and production grades, post-production and VFX personnel as well as new entrants across a host of grades.

The investment helped skills development for crew and talent on drama productions including Outlander, Victoria, Call The Midwife, Noughts and Crosses, Come Home, Poldark, Save Me, Game of Thrones, The Virtues and Safe.

This included:

  • 67 trainees who had a total of 95 placements as part of ‘Trainee Finder’, which places trainees on productions
  • 73 individuals across 45 productions through the ‘Make a Move’ programme, which provides step-up funding for accountants, producers, costume, line producers, production managers and coordinators for e.g. a production runner to production secretary and a costume assistant to junior costume standby on Come Home
  • 224 people attending four intensive HETV bootcamps across the country
  • Five new HETV producers, 10 directors, 17 production accountants and 17 line producers. New producers supported as part of the programme include Katie Bleakley on The Virtues for Warp, Louise Say, co-producer on Les Misérables for BBC One, and Andy Morgan on Safe for Red.
  • Fifty mid- to senior-level crew to further their industry connections as part of the ‘HETV Connect’ programme.

A new scheme also launches this month to support skills training, particularly for freelancers. ‘Skills Passport’ identifies short courses that could benefit screen professionals.

Upon completion of a course, participants can apply for a ‘Course Complete’ badge to save onto their mobile or attach to their profile on Hiive, Creative Skillset’s online creative platform, as a record for potential employers.

The first courses identified for ‘Skills Passport’ are aimed at those working in high-end TV drama in production roles.

Kaye Elliott, Creative Skillset’s director of High-end TV, said: “The continuing success of British and International production companies in producing compelling drama in the UK means that the work investing in next generation talent and crew, funded through the levy, is ever more important.

“There is an ongoing challenge in making sure the UK can continue to offer a highly-skilled workforce to home-grown and international productions. It is our job is to work with industry to champion the importance of continued investment in skills, to ensure we can meet the demand for today and the future.”