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Film London reveals additional 1.25 million sq ft of alternative stage space at Content London

Date posted: 27.11.2013

In 2014, Kiefer Sutherland will head to London to shoot an ambitious reboot of 24. The production is one of many high-end television and animation projects drawn to the capital - and the wider UK - by tax reliefs announced earlier this year. Many, including 24, are opting for alternative stage space, and Film London has been working to make more non-traditional space available to meet the increasing demand.

24's producer Iain Smith (Children of Men, The A-Team) joined Creative Director of animation company Blue-Zoo, Oli Hyatt, at Content London for a panel discussion on the tax reliefs, hosted by Film London and British Film Commission CEO Adrian Wootton.

Promoting London as hub for television and animation to the 100 plus delegates, the panel explored the early impacts of the tax reliefs on production. Grant Thornton's Head of Media Tax, Liz Brion, and Barry Smith, a partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, were on hand to give practical advice on how to apply for the reliefs, and ensure a project qualifies. 

Find out about the UK Film Tax Reliefs

Jack Bauer comes to London

News of an early coup for the capital came in October when it was announced Jack Bauer is back for 24: Live Another Day, a special 12-part series - filming in London. 

Show producer Smith said that London is offering the 24 series a new lease of life, explaining: "the US creatives are inspired as they have a whole new field to play on."

And while the tax reliefs were a big financial incentive, he pointed out that there were other reasons the team chose to come to London: "They are bringing the show here because of what the city has to offer - it is a fantastic destination... both the US and UK teams are benefiting from learning a new way of working and that is really exciting"

When it was first announced that Jack Bauer would find himself in London for the latest installment of 24, the show's star Kiefer Sutherland said: "to be able to tell this intense 24-style story with the beauty of Europe's history and architecture as the backdrop is going to be fascinating."

The shoot is due to take place early next year, with series showing on US screens in the summer.

Read more about 24: Live Another Day

Film London finds alternative Stage Space

High-end television productions often prefer to shoot in non-traditional stage spaces and 24: Live Another Day is no different - the team has selected an alternative warehouse space in London to base production.

With the influx of production to the UK since the announcement of tax reliefs, Film London has worked to raise the city's available square footage, particularly those coveted non-traditional stage spaces.

Wootton announced to the delegates at Content London that this programme of targeted outreach has been successful. Film London has found an extra 1.25 million square feet - including iCity at the Olympic Park

After the event Wootton commented, "We now have a total of 4.32 million square foot of potential studio space inside the M25, so the message is clear: London is open for business and we have the talent and space to accommodate the influx of production."

This space is vital if the UK is to capitalise on the opportunities brought by the tax reliefs.

A Shiny Future for the Capital

The tax reliefs aren't just good news for high-end television production. Domestic animation projects that would previously have gone outside of the UK are staying put, thanks to the new financial incentive.

Speaking on the panel, Hyatt explained that London in particular is "a fantastic hub for animation, and the tax relief has made us competitive and put us on a level playing field".

Like Smith, he was keen to emphasise that this wasn't all the capital has to offer:  "it's not about us being the cheapest, we are the best and home to quality, world-class talent...London is certainly not the Poundland of the animation world, it's the equivalent to Harrods and thanks to the tax relief, we've now got a sale on!"

With animation now part of Film London's remit from the Mayor of London, we are helping to build on this success by working with the industry to encourage more international projects into the UK.

Organised by C21, Content London was a two-day event at BAFTA celebrating the best in television, digital and advertising creativity.

See the full Content London programme

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