Building infrastructure

Sky Studios Elstree reaches a new milestone

The final steelwork was installed on the 60,000 sq ft soundstage at what will be world’s most sustainable TV and film studio

16 Nov 2021

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Nigel Wilson

Nigel Wilson

Group Chief Executive

The UK is the world’s busiest film and TV production hub and 2019 saw spending on high-end TV and movie production reach £3.6 billion and the release of globally acclaimed films from Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King to Downton Abbey and The Favourite. Legal & General is backing this great British success story by working with partners to develop the country’s latest state-of-the-art film and TV studio.

Construction at Sky Studios Elstree, Sky’s new state-of-the-art film and TV studio, reached a major milestone last week as the final steelwork was installed on the highest structure on the site. Reaching a height of 16m, the final piece of steel was secured on the roof of 60,000 sq ft soundstage using a specially made green bolt, representing Sky Studio Elstree’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio.

MP for Hertsmere, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP said, “Sky Studios Elstree is a huge investment in our creative industries and is helping to fuel the economy, both locally and nationally. Across Hertsmere and the surrounding areas, we are creating a hotbed for film and TV production, building on the area’s strong heritage in the screen arts, and it’s great to see Sky pushing ahead with training and supporting the next generation of local talent.”

Once completed the studio is expected to create 2,000 jobs and attract a production spend of £3 billion in its first five years, providing an important economic boost as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.

The development represents a significant investment in the UK and European creative economy and is being made with the backing of Sky’s owner Comcast and in partnership with sister company NBCUniversal, while Legal & General is financing and developing the scheme.

Sky Studios Elstree is a huge investment in our creative industries and is helping to fuel the economy, both locally and nationally. Across Hertsmere and the surrounding areas, we are creating a hotbed for film and TV production, building on the area’s strong heritage in the screen arts, and it’s great to see Sky pushing ahead with training and supporting the next generation of local talent.

Oliver Dowden

Culture Secretary and MP for Hertsmere

Once completed the studio is expected to create 2,000 jobs and attract a production spend of £3 billion in its first five years, providing an important economic boost as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.

The development represents a significant investment in the UK and European creative economy and is being made with the backing of Sky’s owner Comcast and in partnership with sister company NBCUniversal, while Legal & General is financing and developing the scheme.

Economic boost

Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, says: “Sky Studios Elstree is a perfect example of our approach to supporting projects that deliver regional growth, create local value and invest in the skills, training and economy of tomorrow. The UK’s creative industries are world-leading and continue to grow at a rapid rate. We are proud to enable further growth in this area, enabling the UK economy to build back better.”

Sky Studios develops, produces and funds original drama, comedy and documentaries and aims to more than double investment in original content by 2024 in order to build on the success of Sky Originals like Emmy-winning Chernobyl and Bafta-winning Patrick Melrose. NBCUniversal owns and operates news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant TV production operations, a leading television stations group and leading theme parks and internet-based businesses.

Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO of Sky Studios, said: “Sky Studios Elstree is a significant investment in the UK’s creative industry and represents Sky, NBCUniversal and Comcast’s commitment to producing world-class film and TV here in the UK. The new studios will enable us to deliver more original content to our customers while supporting the next generation of talent through skills and training. At this time when the world is focussed on COP26 and the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis, we are also proud of our ambition to build the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio.”

Flexible facilities

The design for Sky Studios Elstree includes 12 flexible sound stages that can merge together and subdivide to provide flexibility and scalability to accommodate productions of all sizes. This means that the biggest sound stages can now cover 60,000sq ft, or reduce to smaller, segregated studios.

Sky Studios Elstree will become home to a host of Sky Originals, created by Sky Studios, as well as major film productions from Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Working Title, and television series from NBCUniversal Content Studios. It will also have capacity to host productions from third party producers.

While the studio will create 2,000 new jobs in areas like production and studio operations, thousands more jobs will be supported in the national supply chain. It will also help to fuel the economy across Hertsmere.

Sky Studios is also committed to supporting the next generation of young and diverse creative talent and will use Sky Studios Elstree to build on its existing work in this area. This includes Sky Academy Skills Studio and Mama Youth, a project that equips young people, aged between 18-25 years of age from under-represented groups, with the necessary skills to work in the TV industry.

In 2006, Sky became the first carbon-neutral media company in the world and Sky Studios Elstree will become a cornerstone of the company’s ambition to become Net Zero Carbon within a decade. It will be the most sustainable film and TV production site in the world when it opens in 2022, with the capability to produce 20% of its own power on site through solar energy, while no fossil fuels will be used to power day-to-day operations. In addition, no single-use plastics will be allowed in Sky operations.