Photo credit: Chris Cook/Essex Live –


Mission Impossible hits the Big Screen in July 2018 featuring of course Thorndon Country Park. A scene from the film was recorded there with Tom Cruise in the summer with Essex County Council receiving £32,000 in fees for the shoot. To be fair this covered the cost of closures etc rather than representing a huge moneyspinner for the county. What is will bring is the Hollywood A list image to Brentwood and lift the borough into a different league.

Films have never been so popular Paddington 2 – a very British classic is at the top of the UK box office charts and Star Wars: The Last Jedi is being hailed as the best yet in the Star Wars franchise. Back in the 1970s when the first film was released the merchandise was left struggling in stores with rumours abounding that much of it ended up in a landfill site in the Midlands. Those figures today can fetch £500 a piece on the collectors market.

So what can Brentwood Businesses hope to achieve from the Mission Impossible moment of fame? According to the most recent government stats the UK film and TV industry contributed £7.7bn to the UK economy in 2016 – that was 80% more than five years earlier. The film and television industry also has spin-off benefits for other parts of the economy too, in areas like advertising, set design, catering and tourism.

Growth areas in the film industry that offer new business opportunities with Brentwood’s excellent connections to London and beyond include:

** production – the preparation and shooting of movies and TV programmes – worth £2.5 billion in 2016 to the UK economy.

** Distribution – which includes licensing films and television programmes and managing rights, contributed more than £3.5 billion in 2016 – almost three times as much as it did in 2008.

** post-production (editing, graphics, sound and visual effects) not as dramatic, but still significant.

**  in 2016 almost 60,000 people were working in the film industry; this figure has been rising since 2013, with some of the most notable increases in the production sector.

Tax relief – controversial! Some schemes that hit the headlines have been outlawed, but there are legitimate schemes to help business investment including:

**  The Creative Industries Tax Reliefs, introduced initially for film in 2007 and later expanded to support high-end TV, video games, animation and children’s programmes, appear to have played a major part in attracting big-budget productions to the UK.

** Film Tax Relief allows film production companies to claim a cash rebate of up to 25% of the money they spend making the film in the UK (up to a maximum of 80% of the film’s core expenditure).

** For a film to qualify as “British” for tax purposes, it either has to pass a “cultural test” based on how much of the story, setting, production and crew are British (or from the European Economic Area), or be an official co-production from a country which has a reciprocal agreement with the UK or through the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production.

** In the last decade the British Film Institute (BFI) has certified almost 2,000 films in this way, including many blockbusters.

** Since 2007, HMRC have paid £2.3 billion of Film Tax Relief, representing almost £9 billion spent on making films in the UK. The full spend on film production in the UK since 2007 is £12.2 billion according to the BFI; this includes films which have not yet been given final certification as British.

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Photo credit: Chris Cook/Essex Live