Blackhall film and TV studio 'to create 3,000 jobs'

James Sillars, business reporter

A US company has announced plans to build a new film and TV studio in Berkshire, saying the £150m facility will create up to 3,000 jobs.

Blackhall Studios - based in Atlanta, Georgia - said its first foray overseas and into the UK market would deliver "the largest purpose-built film studio and digital creative hub complex in the UK".

It added that several other opportunities were being considered in the country as clients including Disney and Universal - part of Sky News parent company Comcast - seek additional studio space.

The announcement was made two months after Sky revealed its own plans for a new 14-stage site beside the current Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire in a boost for the creative economy.

Netflix completed an agreement last year to create a production hub at Shepperton Studios.

Blackhall, which has hosted production on movies including Godzilla: King of Monsters' and Venom, said its planned UK studio space would be on the University of Reading-owned Thames Valley Science Park and be worth £500m to the economy once completed.

Of the 3,000 jobs it expects the project to create, half the number could be based at the new studios.

Chief executive Ryan Millsap said: "We are excited to be establishing a base in the UK.

"Blackhall is the global standard for entertainment production space and our US-based clients like Disney, Universal and Sony are all asking us to expand into the UK to meet their desire to create productions here.

"We are very excited about the prospect of investing in the UK creative industries as one of the most vibrant markets in the world."

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "The UK and the US are each other's largest investors, and this announcement demonstrates the strength of our trading relationship, which benefits all sectors and regions in
the UK.

"Blackhall's commitment is a strong endorsement of our creative industry and the great creatives that work in UK film, and is set to deliver hundreds of new jobs in the area."