With burst party balloons still to be found dotted around Elstree Studios – a hangover from its 90th anniversary celebrations – the great British film and TV institution can be found busily preparing for the next stage of its evolution. The local authority has unanimously agreed to grant permission for the Borehamwood-based production facility to extend through a newly built studio on a recently cleared four-acre area to the rear of the complex.
The studio, which will be positioned near to the internally renowned George Lucas stage and the famous – some would say “infamous” – Big Brother House, will ultimately be one of the most state of the art sound stages in England. Indeed, it will be as tall as the George Lucas Stage – the setting for production on the original Star Wars films as well as countless others – but offer more floor space at 21,000 sq. ft. The stage will also connect to workshops, warehousing for scenery and props, and production offices.
On agreeing to the proposal, the council of Hertsmere Borough noted Elstree Studios’ world renown, saying that it was the “jewel” in “Hertsmere’s crown”. Councillors said it was important to support its endeavours to enhance its facilities and, crucially, evolve with a fast-moving marketplace.
They’re right to offer it full support, after all Elstree has become one of the UK’s most technically capable and operationally diverse production houses. The studios, under its ambitious managing director Roger Morris, has recognised that it can’t stand still, clinging to past glories. It has moved with the times, adapting to audiences’ changing viewing habits and encouraging production companies to get the greatest value out of their time on the lot. It’s a business model that Morris calls “resilient” and one which attracts some of the country’s biggest film and TV projects.
Chairman of Elstree Studios Cllr Morris Bright explained that the development will form a part of much-needed additional studio space, hinting at it being the start of further physical growth.
Elstree Studios already has clients expressing a wish to use the newly built stage once it is ready. The studios’ managing director said the stage will “probably” be “the best multipurpose film and TV stage” in the country. This latest development comes only a year after Elstree enjoyed record sales with productions such as film The Danish Girl starring Eddie Redmayne, Strictly Come Dancing and The Crown.