New Leeds studio setback for Scots film industry

The new film version of classic sitcom Dad's Army has been filmed largely in Yorkshire. Picture: Contributed
The new film version of classic sitcom Dad's Army has been filmed largely in Yorkshire. Picture: Contributed
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THE Scottish Government is under fresh pressure to build a new TV and film studio to ensure the country’s movie industry is not left behind its UK counterparts.

It comes after Screen Yorkshire announced new plans for a film studio outside Leeds.

Popular US series Outlander is filmed in Scotland. Picture: submitted

Popular US series Outlander is filmed in Scotland. Picture: submitted

Labour says the Scottish Government’s “dithering” has resulted in the country losing out on major productions like Game of Thrones and Generation Z and called on ministers clarify their plans for the future.

The Scottish Government Ministers are is still locked in negotiations over the creation of a permanent film studio development, more than two years after the creation of its “delivery group” by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Labour’s culture spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “Scotland has the skills, talent and scenery to be at the forefront of the film industry, not just here in Britain but across Europe and the world.

“However, without a dedicated national film and TV studio, it faces being left behind.

“Whilst the Scottish Government dithers and the film industry awaits, Screen Yorkshire has announced its plans for a new studio and is already showing productions around.”

The lack of infrastructure has been identified as a key reason for Scotland losing out on productions such as the smash hit Game of Thrones and Brad Pitt movie zombie series Generation Z.

“The Scottish film industry deserves greater support from the Scottish Government and firm progress on a film and TV studio is vital,” Ms Baker added.

“The Scottish government must now clarify its plans and be open and honest about the future of a film and TV studio.”

Ministers have agreed to set up a powerful new taskforce dedicated to reviving the nation’s film industry, but has have still not committed to a long-awaited studio.

Leading directors and producers who have been calling for a better financial deal for the country’s troubled screen sector are expected to be asked to join the new group. The Independent Producers Scotland group has been campaigning for two years for an increase in the £4 million funding pot available for productions from Creative Scotland.

Due diligence is said to have been completed over a private sector proposal which was announced by Ms Hyslop in March when she appeared at Holyrood to give evidence as part of an inquiry into the screen sector and the computer gaming industry.

The parliament’s economy committee had urged the government to reach a decision on the new studio venture – which is understood to be earmarked for Cumbernauld in Lanarkshire – “as soon as possible” when its findings were published in March.

Sunshine on Leith producer Arabella Page Croft, founder of Black Camel Pictures, recently said attempts to raise the international profile of her firm at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as attracting high-end co-productions to Scotland, were being hampered by the competition they face from global incentives and rich inward investment funds in other countries.

She warned that in order to create a “booming film sector” in Scotland, the country needs to make more films – which means better-resourced producers and a studio.