Restart Scheme Film and TV production hits £1.9bn spend this year

Jul 29, 2021
Courtesy of Netflix

More than 600 feature films and television productions have gone into production in the UK since the scheme was announced in July last year as the industry has moved into pandemic recovery thanks to the Government funded Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.

The scheme was launched by the Government backed by £500m to support films and television productions which were ready to start or restart but unable to secure insurance against potential Coronavirus-related delays and interruptions such as illness amongst key cast and crew.

Launched for registrations in October last year, allowing claims backdated to July, the scheme has enabled productions to get off the ground in the second half of 2020 and has helped the sector to bounce back and record the second highest spend (£1.19 billion) for any quarter on record at the end of last year.

To date the scheme has enabled:

  • 640 independent films and television productions to start or restart within a year of the Scheme being set up
  • A total budget spend of £1.9 billion across the 640 productions on the Scheme, enabling the UK production sector to be a significant contributor to the UK economy
  • More than 55,000 jobs to be provided by the productions which have registered with the Scheme

The scheme has been kept under review as the sector has recovered from the impact of the pandemic and was extended to provide cover until the end of this year as part of the Budget.

Other measures have also played a part in the sector being able to make a confident recovery.   Detailed COVID-19 health and safety guidance for film and high-end television drama production, other types of television programmes and for post-production/VFX was developed by the industry as part of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force and supported by the Government.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I’ve seen firsthand how this scheme has been a lifeline during this pandemic,  keeping the cameras rolling on TV and film sets across the country, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the process – from actors, make-up artists and technicians all the way to catering companies and transport firms. Thanks to this scheme, our screen industry is raring to go -– and British-made productions will be at the heart of our recovery.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Our world-leading film and TV industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs – that’s why it was so important we helped it to get up and running again as part of our Plan for Jobs. It’s great that one year on since its launch the Restart Scheme has given so many productions the confidence to keep shooting, supporting jobs across the UK and producing the film and TV we all love.”

Several productions registered with the scheme have returned or are returning to our screens shortly including The Bay, Midsomer MurdersPeaky Blinders and Gentleman Jack.  The film Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth has just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and Boxing Day, the UK’s first ever festive romantic comedy starring an all-black cast were films which registered early with the scheme. Terence Davies’ Benediction starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi has just been announced for screening at the San Sebastian and Toronto International Film Festival, both taking place in September.

Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “We make high quality film and television content enjoyed by audiences at home and around the world, demonstrating the skills and expertise of our world-class crew, cast and production businesses.  The pandemic brought production to a halt early last year and unable to restart without insurance cover against potential COVID disruption, however the Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme has been a game-changer for the industry’s recovery. A year down the line we are looking at a booming sector attracting further commercial investment and opportunities for more jobs and contributing to the UK’s economy.”

A full list of independent film and television productions using the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme is published and available here. Productions which may not yet have been announced but are on board the scheme are not published.

In addition to the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, the screen industry has also benefitted from £27.6 million of support to independent cinemas through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

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