Barbie, Bridgerton and billions of pounds: how streaming – and tax breaks – fuelled the UK’s ‘Brollywood’ screen boom Culture | The Guardian

Great locations, experienced crews and juicy incentives have made UK studios increasingly attractive, and brought Hollywood stars to the unlikeliest locations. But with budgets falling and a lack of skills training, could the bubble be about to burst?

When Peter Vardy joined Calderdale council 46 years ago, his job mostly involved maintaining local parks and, later, organising the occasional firework display. But these days Vardy’s CV can truthfully boast that he has shut down roads to stage car crashes and found the perfect bridge for a fictional detective’s (fictional) suicide. The West Yorkshire borough where the 64-year-old works has become a filming hotspot, home to big-budget productions such as the Disney+ superhero series Secret Invasion and the Paramount Plus period drama A Gentleman in Moscow. Residents have spotted Hollywood stars relaxing in local restaurants – Samuel L Jackson is apparently partial to fried seafood, lemonade and tiramisu.

Since 2013, Vardy has acted as the council’s film officer; he manages applications for shoots, which back then were “few and far between”. A decade on, 2023 saw a total of 31 productions and 100 days of filming – partly because the BBC’s Happy Valley put Calderdale on the map in 2014, but largely because Hollywood has a new home. Generous tax breaks, the rise of streaming services and an ever-increasing demand for high-end TV have suddenly collided to make the UK a very attractive place to film.

Continue reading… 

Read More