Glasgow’s historic Kelvin Hall to become new base for TV entertainment shows under BBC studio deal
Some of Britain's biggest TV entertainment shows are set to be made in Glasgow in future under plans by the BBC's studio company to take over part of the Kelvin Hall.
Shows for the BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4 and Netflix are set to be made under plans to create a major new broadcasting hub in the city's west end.
The Scottish Government and the city council. which have ploughed £11.9m into a revamp of part of the Kelvin Hall, have unveiled a deal with BBC Studioworks, which has been in talks about launching its first facility outside London for nearly two years.
BBC Studioworks works with broadcasters and production companies to make shows like Eastenders, Strictly Come Dancing, The Chase, Lorraine, Holby City, The Voice, Loose Women and The Graham Norton show at its seven existing “world class" studio facilities at Elstree and White City in London.
BBC Studioworks said the 10.000 sq ft studio at the Kelvin Hall, which is expected to be fully up and running in the autumn of next year, would become home to “a wide array of entertainment shows across multiple genres.”
The project is expected to create 75 new jobs and provide a boost to the Glasgow economy worth at least £3.5 million.
Some shows will be filmed before live audiences at the Kelvin Hall studio, which will use 100 per cent renewable energy, and have dressing rooms, a green room and production offices.
it is hoped it will play a key role in helping Scotland’s screen industry, which is thought to be worth well over £100 million since the country managed to attract several high-quality drama productions, to grow and support the development of its workforce.
BBC Studioworks said Glasgow had been chosen as the first hub in a planned programme to open new studios facilities across the UK because of the “growing demand” to make more TV shows in Scotland.
The Kelvin Hall facility will have a bigger filming space than the one at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow, where shows like Mrs Brown’s Boys, Eggheads, Dog Ate My Homework and The Quay Sessions are made.
The new Kelvin Hall facility is said to be an "ideal destination” for studio audiences, production crew and on-screen talent due to its location in the heart of Glasgow’s west end.
Other BBC Studioworks credits include The Crown, Crazy Delicious, Good Morning Britain, Peston, Celebrity Juice, Pointless and The Jonathan Ross Show.
A new Channel 4 prison drama, Screw, has already been made at the historic Glasgow building, which dates back to 1927, after plans to fund the creation of studio facilities were revealed by the government and the council earlier this year.
At the time, it was said that the new studio would help overcome a “significant barrier” to the city’s efforts to attract major productions.
The BBC Studioworks deal is the latest in a series of announcements which reflecting what is described as “unprecedented interest” in using Scotland as a base for film and TV productions as the industry emerges from the pandemic.
Scotland has secured the next series of the BBC show Good Omens, which creator Neil Gaiman is currently masterminding at a huge studio facility in Bathgate.Gaiman is also working on a series adaptation of his novel Anansi Boys, which is being made at the FirstStage Studios complex in Leith Docks, where a new supernatural thriller, The Rig, which Line of Duty star Martin Compston, Schitt's Creek favourite Emily Hampshire and Game of Thrones actor Iain Glen filmed earlier this year.
But the Good Omens studio in Bathgate and the studio complex in Cumbernauld where Outlander has been made for the last eight years have been bought over in the last few weeks.
BBC Studioworks chief executive Andrew Moultrie said: “Glasgow is a key creative hub, laying the foundations for our expansion outside London.
“We’re thrilled to have been appointed as the operator of this new facility in Glasgow.
“The Kelvin Hall will provide much-needed purpose-built studio space in Scotland, meeting growing industry demand to produce there.
“Drawing on our decades of expertise and unrivalled customer service, we will help grow the local workforce to deliver more local productions and support the continued development of sector-specific skills in Scotland.”
David Smith, director of screen at the Scottish Government’s film and TV agency, Screen Scotland, said: “It’s almost two years since we first met with BBC Studioworks to discuss their ambitions for an entertainment focused studio outwith London.
“We’ve worked with them, alongside the fantastic team at Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government since early 2020 to land this opportunity for Scotland.
“We look forward to working with BBC Studioworks on training and skills development opportunities around the Kelvin Hall studio, and with the BBC’s commissioning team on all of the new programmes and series from Scotland that will be made in the decades to come.”
Scottish culture secretary Angus Robertson said: “There is unprecedented interest in Scotland as a production hub and Kelvin Hall will be a welcome addition to the growing range of studio space being used by film and television productions.
“We’re working with partners to maximise the opportunities offered by the studio to develop expertise in the entertainment genre and build on existing skills and training schemes to further develop a sustainable creative economy.”
Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The announcement that BBC Studioworks will be the tenant operator of the Kelvin Hall is fantastic news for the city.
“BBC Studioworks will draw on their wealth of experience in the industry to develop Kelvin Hall as an important and attractive film and television location, continuing Glasgow’s rise in this sector.
“The Kelvin Hall will be a nationally significant production facility that will enable productions and jobs to stay and grow in the city, further driving the development of our thriving creative industries, and adding to Glasgow’s economic growth.”