Sky plots 32-acre film and TV studio at Elstree

Impressions for Sky Studios Elstree

Sky is developing a 32-acre film and TV studio at North London’s Elstree, set to bring about more than 2,000 jobs and a £3bn ($3.8bn) production investment to the UK creative sector.

Sky’s new studio space, called Sky Studios Elstree, comes just months after Netflix set up shop at Shepperton Studios with a 14-stage studio space, and represents a major power play by the pay-TV operator as it bets big on Sky Studios for in-house content.

The pay-TV operator’s new venture – which follows a dedicated US production hub, launched in September – is backed by parent groups Comcast and NBCUniversal with UK financial services outfit Legal & General set to develop the site and put up financing for the project.

The studio – which will sit on Rowley Lane, and operate independent to the area’s historic Elstree Studios – will also house major film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, as well as TV series from NBCUniversal Content Studios and third-party producers.

Set to open in 2022, the space will include around 14 sound stages – each covering 20,000 square feet – and the site will include production offices, a set construction workshop, screening cinema and post-production and digital facilities.

The new space is expected to generate a £3bn ($3.8bn) production investment in its first five years of operation.

Legal & General is in the process of finalising a detailed design of the scheme and is expected to submit a formal planning application early next year. Sajida Bijle, interim MD of Hertsmere Borough Council, said the scheme will bring “significant employment opportunities” to the region, and that the local community can see plans and comment on the proposals once a formal planning application is submitted.

Jeremy Darroch, group chief exec of Sky, has said that Sky Studios Elstree will play a “pivotal role” in championing UK and European talent.

“We know our customers love our award-winning Sky Originals like Chernobyl and our investment in Sky Studios Elstree will enable us to bring more unique stories to more viewers,” he said.

“We are proud to be working with our colleagues at NBCUniversal and Comcast, and our partners Hertsmere Borough Council and Legal & General to bring this project to life. Together we share a joint vision to create a world-leading production capability that will support the creation of thousands of jobs in the creative sector. We can’t wait to get started.”

Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group, added: “The UK is a great place to invest. Growing at twice the speed of the economy as a whole and accounting for over two million jobs, our creative industries are a key component of Britain’s bright future. This investment is a great match for backing our UK pension promises. Sky, NBCUniversal and Comcast are global leaders in entertainment, which will bring the best out of the UK’s amazing pool of talent. L&G is thrilled to be playing a supporting role in this major production.”

Roger Morris, MD of Elstree Studios, said: “Sky Studios Elstree will be of immense importance to the UK Film and Television industry – it will not only boost the local economy of Hertsmere and Hertfordshire, but will also have a major impact on the UK’s creative sector as a whole. We are extremely proud that Sky Studios Elstree has chosen to locate near us and we look forward to working closely with them.”

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