Mayor hails Dagenham East as the future destination for film

30 October 2017
  • Jointly commissioned study finds that Dagenham East can accommodate world-class film studio
  • These will be the first new TV and film production studios in London for at least 25 years
  • Council invites investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to create the huge studio space

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, have announced plans for Dagenham East to become a world-leading destination for the production of blockbuster movies, as an expert study shows how the area is the ideal location for Hollywood-style studio space.

The study, published today, outlines how Dagenham East represents a rare chance to build a world-class film studio in London. This will support the long-term success of the UK’s booming film and TV production industries, bolster Film London’s work in attracting major new projects to the capital while also contributing to the regeneration of east London and supporting the Mayor’s ambition for creative production along the Thames Estuary.

From the outset of his Mayoralty, Sadiq Khan pledged to make London the most film-friendly city in the world. Last year he teamed up with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham to commission this study into creating the capital’s first new TV and film production studios for at least 25 years, following increasing demand and pressure on existing studio space in the capital. 

The study team, led by the economic consultancy SQW and including BBP Regeneration and Prof. Richard Miller of the University of Hertfordshire, explored why Dagenham is a suitable location for a studio of this scale; how the project addresses the demand and capacity issues of the film and TV industries; and how the proposed studio could be laid out. Film London and the film and television industries were closely consulted during the study.

Key findings outline how:

  • Demand: Due to the city’s world-class skills, locations, crews and expertise, demand for studio space has never been higher. The value of feature film production spend in the UK in 2016 was £1.6billion, an all-time record. The large majority of this sum was associated with inward investment feature films, most of which are big-budget US-financed pictures. Much of this growth is focused on studios in and around London.
  • Capacity: Trends in the film and TV markets currently favour large, permanent studio spaces. Big-budget productions typically look for at least 125,000 square footage of stages, which this study demonstrates Dagenham East can accommodate. Other successful UK film studios are planning expansions but will not meet growing demand on their own, with modelling suggesting that the UK could need a further 800,000 square feet to 1.22m square feet of studio space by 2032.
  • Jobs: A studio of this size at Dagenham East could generate around 780 full time jobs in the local area and £35million for the economy.  
  • Location: Barking and Dagenham is well connected, and the proposed site is midway between the City and the M25.  It’s directly opposite the tube station and close to the A13 and M11 motorways, providing excellent transport links for cast, crew and industry professionals. Its location would provide a clear trajectory for studio South East,

Barking and Dagenham Council is now inviting expressions of interest from investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to create the huge studio space and will start the formal tender process in 2018. The potential site for the new studios at Dagenham East is located in front of Londoneast-UK business and technical park and was scoped out because of its significantly large size, which presents the opportunity to build a new, bespoke facility.

The borough’s Film Office has already enjoyed considerable success in attracting a number of big budget films such as Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange, and TV dramas including ITV's Liar and Netflix's Black Mirror. Today the Mayor and the Leader of the Council visited the set of Humans 3 at Barking Power Station to see the exceptional quality of TV production being attracted to the borough.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global capital for film - from Bond to Bridget Jones, and Star Wars to Paddington - our capital is world-renowned for its film industry and has at least 40 crews out on London’s streets filming every single day.

“But we mustn’t rest on our laurels. I want London to be the most film-friendly city in the world and today’s study demonstrates the huge demand for large- scale film studios in the UK.

“I am determined to do more to support economic growth and create new jobs across London. A new film studio in Dagenham East will bring hundreds of new jobs to the area, benefiting everyone from carpenters to camera operators.

“There are already amazing productions being made in Dagenham and I know these new studios will have us hot on the heels of Hollywood for blockbuster movies, showing the world that London is open to creativity, business and talent.”

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “This is a landmark day for Barking and Dagenham and yet another sign that we are turning the tide on the borough’s fortunes.  We were known for producing cars in the last century but today we aspire to produce blockbuster films. Together with City Hall, our plans to build the first film studio since Pinewood demonstrates our commitment to bring jobs and new opportunities to east London.”

Manager of Barking and Dagenham Film Studios, Lisa Dee, said: “Film lbbd – the council’s film office - has laid the foundations for this work with productions big and small taking the advantages of the opportunities to film in the borough. Today’s event is proof of that.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “This is a golden era for London’s screen industries, and the city’s success helps drive growth in film and TV production across the UK as a whole. However, such success brings its own challenges, and if we’re to maintain our position then we need to make sure we can continue to remain competitive and meet global demand. Film London does everything it can to facilitate major filming, from supporting expansion plans to  unlocking ‘alternative’ studio space. New, purpose-built facilities in Dagenham promise to be a tremendous boon for our industry and cement our status as one a global centre for content production. I’m looking forward to working with the Mayor and Cllr Rodwell to make this project a success, and, ultimately, bring jobs, investment and the biggest names in entertainment to this part of east London.”

Barbara Broccoli OBE, producer, said: “The demand for studio space in the UK has never been higher and the creation of these studios offers a fantastic opportunity for our industry. East London is a hub of creativity with a strong arts and culture sector and I also believe this studio will offer a new and exciting prospect to the young people of Barking, Dagenham and beyond.”

Stephen Woolley, producer said: “The UK is witnessing a real production boom for film and TV and it shows no signs of slowing, so new studio space to complement sites like 3 Mills, Pinewood and Shepperton is terrific news. When we shot Made In Dagenham we actually had to film part of it in Wales – if this site had been an option maybe we could have made the whole film in east London!”

Approximately three-quarters of the UK’s film industry is based in and around London, and last year £1billion was attracted to the city in inward investment from international film production. London is the third busiest city for film production in the world after only Los Angeles and New York. The capital’s world-class crew, locations, talent and competitive tax reliefs have sustained London’s position in the top three film cities - and that also means demand for studio space is incredibly high.

London’s hard-won success against fierce international competition is due in no small part to the work of the Mayor’s screen industries agency, Film London, and the British Film Commission in attracting and supporting major production to London and the UK. This new studio space will help meet increasing demand and ensure many more multi-million-pound productions come to London, showing the world that, following the EU referendum, the capital remains open to business, talent and creativity. 

Notes to editors

1. Please email [email protected] for a copy of the Made in Dagenham: a film studio for Dagenham East report.

2. The Thames Estuary Production Corridor sees a new economic collaboration between London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) and South East Local Economic Partnership (SELEP), making the case for investment in the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.   The creative corridor will span almost 80 miles and house the world’s largest innovation district.  It will be a centre of excellence, providing great links into and across London and the wider South East, whilst building a unique, self-sustaining, infrastructure to support creative businesses in a way that has not been seen before. Within the creative Estuary corridor will be a regional Film and TV hub  to include existing studios at Three Mills and Maidstone Studios, as well as planned film studios in the Design District in North Greenwich and Quartermaster Studios in Purfleet. To find out more, visit

3. About Film London

Film London is the capital's screen industries agency. We connect ideas, talent and finance to develop a pioneering creative culture in the city that delivers success in film, television, animation, games and beyond. We work to sustain, promote and develop London as a global content production hub, support the development of the city's new and emerging filmmaking talent and invest in a diverse and rich film culture. Funded by the Mayor of London and the National Lottery through the BFI, we also receive support from Arts Council England, Creative Skillset and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Film London's activities include:

  • Maintaining, strengthening and promoting London's position as world-class city to attract investment through film, television, animation and games
  • Investing in local talent through a range of specialised production and training schemes
  • Boosting employment and competitiveness in the capital's screen industries by delivering internationally facing business development events
  • Maximising access to the capital's film culture by helping audiences discover film in all its diversity
  • Promoting London through screen tourism

Film London also manages the British Film Commission ( through a public/private partnership which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport through the BFI, and the Department for International Trade.



4. About Humans 3
One year after the dawn of consciousness, a decimated and oppressed Synth population fights to survive in a world that hates and fears them. In a divided Britain, Synths and Humans struggle to broker an uneasy peace, but when fractures within the Synth community itself start to appear, all hope of stability is threatened.

Set against the maelstrom of political chaos, the ethical complexities of the dawn of a new species play out across a thrilling multi-stranded narrative. As the synth family, Mia (Gemma Chan), Niska (Emily Berrington) and Max (IvannoJeremiah) continue to battle for their right to survival, Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) Laura (Katherine Parkinson) and their children Mattie, Toby and Sophie struggle to come to terms with the cataclysmic events of the last series and their deeply polarised views on the implications of the singularity.

Humans 3 provides a thrilling look at the evolution of technology and its effect on society; timely and relevant, the new season unfolds on a bigger scale than ever before, in a deeply divided Britain, and continues to ask the question, are sentient synths entitled to be treated as human?

Humans is written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley and is due to air next year on Channel 4. The new season is Executive Produced by Derek Wax, Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley for Kudos in association with Wild Mercury Productions, Lars Lundstrom and Henrik Widman for Matador Films, and is produced by Vicki Delow for Kudos. The third season was commissioned for Channel 4 by Beth Willis and Simon Maxwell; and Joel Stillerman and Kristin Jones for AMC.