£20m-plus boost for city’s economy as Bristol keeps its starring role as top TV and film location

October 6, 2023

Attracting big-name TV and film production such Doctor Who and Sex Education to Bristol added an estimated £20.1m to the city’s economy in the 2022-23 financial year, new figures show.

Some 220 recorded productions were hosted in Bristol, with 838 filming days taking place on location assisted by the city council’s Film Office or at the city’s Bottle Yard Studios film complex.

Just over 500 licenses were issued by the Film Office permitting filming to take place on council-owned streets, properties and green spaces.

This activity, which also included thriller The Killing Kindpictured, and comedy-drama Rain Dogspictured, added up to a total inward investment of £20,134,750 – slightly down on the decade-high figure of £20.8m achieved the previous year.

The economic impact report was published by Bristol Film Office as it marks its 20th year of operations this month.

It was founded in 2003 by Bristol City Council to “attract, assist and provide business development opportunities for the moving image industry for the benefit of the city’s economy”.

Since then the office and its partners The Bottle Yard Studios have helped bring TV and film production activity worth an estimated £322m to the city.

Its operations have also generated more than £2.1m income for the council through filming permits and charges.

Bristol deputy mayor and cabinet member for finance, governance and performance, Cllr Craig Cheney, said: “We are proud that Bristol is home to the largest studio hub for film and TV production in the West of England, the heart of a sector worth over £320m to our local economy since 2003.

“Our city is one of the most competitive filming cities outside of London. Over the past 20 years Bristol Film Office has played a vital role in attracting and assisting high levels of filming on location in Bristol, generating over £2.1m of income for the council.

“The latest annual figures demonstrate the continued value of the film and TV industry for our city, and the ongoing success of our filming facilitation services.

“We were proud to secure £12m for TBY2’s expansion, strengthening our solar-powered Hollywood in Hengrove, delivering 1,000 new jobs by 2032.”

Senior film manager Laura Aviles (Bristol City Council) added: “It’s fantastic that inward investment generated by film and TV production held strong in Bristol at over £20m last year, a similar value to 2021-22 which included the post-pandemic surge in filming.

“This is proof that Bristol is maintaining its competitive edge as a leading UK filming city, thanks to services provided by Bristol Film Office, expanded facilities at The Bottle Yard and our skilled local crew.

“As we mark 20 years of Bristol Film Office, it’s clear that the impact this service has had over two decades is incredibly far reaching for such a small team.

“From its early days assisting shows like Teachers and Skins, it has provided a bespoke service to productions that has been reliable and consistent whilst the city’s filming infrastructure has grown, through the creation of The Bottle Yard Studios to its expansion last year.

“Not only has Bristol Film Office facilitated filming worth more than £320m to Bristol over two decades, it also played a central role to Bristol gaining UNESCO City of Film status in 2017.

“It rose to the challenge of supporting safe filming on the streets during the pandemic and has worked over and above to accommodate the higher numbers of crews we’ve welcomed into the city ever since.

“Its work is vital in attracting productions to Bristol, to spend money in our economy and create work for local crew, companies and facilities.

“I’m hugely proud of all that Bristol Film Office has achieved so far, and the team’s ongoing drive to grow Bristol’s profile even further, as the best UK filming city outside London.”

Around 100 people attended Bristol Film Office’s 20th anniversary event at M Shed on Wednesday, where Bristolian actor and BBC Bristol Radio presenter Joe Sims (Ruby Speaking, Broadchurch) presented a special Filming in Bristol quiz to mark the occasion.

Guests included crew, location managers and line producers and production company representatives from Sid Gentle, Mammoth Screen, Eleventh Hour, Moonage Pictures, 42, Blak Wave and Happy Hour Productions, venues that frequently host filming, including University of Bristol, UWE Bristol, Arnos Vale Cemetery and Clifton Suspension Bridge, and representatives from council departments that Bristol Film Office liaises with to arrange filming logistics for productions, including Highways, Parking Services, Parks and Estates.

The Killing Kind photo courtesy of Paramount+. Rain Dogs photo courtesy of Sid Gentle Films/BBC

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