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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall to get £11.9m TV studio


A new £11.9m TV studio in part of Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall will be operated by a commercial arm of the BBC, it has been announced.

The studio’s goal is to become the Scottish hub for shows produced for the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, and Netflix.

BBC Studioworks’ Andrew Moultrie stated that it would open next autumn and would be a “shiny floor studio.”

This means that it will usually feature light entertainment such as comedy shows, game shows, and quizzes.

The Kelvin Hall Film and Broadcast Studio Hub will be operated by BBC Studioworks – a commercial ‘sister company’ of the BBC.

It is hoped it will meet the growing demand for TV shows in Scotland and is expected to boost local jobs and support the development of a skilled workforce.

It will provide studios and post-production services to a range of broadcasters.

The construction site at Kelvin Hall where the BBC has been unveiled as the operator for the new £11.9m studio

Mr Moultrie, the CEO of BBC Studioworks, stated that while it was designed for a “shiny floor environment,” it would be versatile and could be used for other genres.

Mr Moultrie stated that once completed, the space will be “vibrant” and “energetic,” restoring some of the energy that once existed in Kelvin Hall.

He went on to say that the studio was built with the audience in mind.

“Audiences and locals will be able to get access to the tickets to come and actually see the shows themselves as well,” he said.

The Scottish Government contributed £7.9 million to the project, and Glasgow City Council contributed £4 million.

The screen industry is estimated to be worth up to £500 million to Scotland each year, with Glasgow accounting for 60% of that total.

The council hopes that the new studio will attract big-budget entertainment and drama productions, but none have been announced as of yet.

Sean Connery had plans for one on Edinburgh’s outskirts. James Cosmo wished to establish one in the Highlands. Plans for a Scottish film studio date back to the 1930s, with each succeeding generation advocating for a new project.

Then, like buses, several studios arrived at the same time.

Wardpark in Cumbernauld has been the location for the television series Outlander since 2013. The TV show is now in its sixth season, and the studio complex (once a warehouse) has been expanded and purchased by an American film consortium for an undisclosed sum.

Similarly appealing was the studio complex beneath the Pyramids business park on the M8, which was also purchased in the last week by London and Regional and will be developed into a film and television studio. Recently, the space has been used by both Trainspotting and Good Omens.

The good news is that there appears to be plenty of work to go around for the network of spaces. First Stage in Leith, which is partly run by Jason Connery, has only been open a year and has already hosted two Amazon shows, the Rig and Anansi Boys.

Kelvin Hall, the network’s newest addition, has already been used for the upcoming STV/Channel 4 drama Screws, and the new operators BBC Studioworks (a commercial subsidiary of the BBC) will be looking to use that 10,500 square feet floor space for a variety of light entertainment programmes beginning in autumn 2022.

The good news for all studios is that, despite the pandemic, film and television production in Scotland is at an all-time high, though official figures won’t be released until the new year.

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