Scotland business

Scotland's film and television sector 'growing'

Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) will play major roles in the fourth season of Outlander Image copyright Aimee Spinks
Image caption Outlander has been one of the few big-budget productions based in Scotland

New figures indicate a 66% increase in the number of film and video companies based in Scotland over the past decade.

The statistics, compiled by the SNP, suggest the number of enterprises in the sector has gone from 240 in 2008, to 400 in 2018.

Although scenes for film and television are often shot in Scotland, major productions are often based elsewhere.

The exception is television series Outlander, which is filmed at the Wardpark Studios in Cumbernauld.

Although figures for the number of people employed by the companies are incomplete, they suggest an increase over time.

Fluctuating employment

In 2017, the last year for which an employment total is available, 3,635 people are believed to have been working for film and video enterprises.

The total has tended to vary from year to year, reflecting whether a large-scale project has been on location in Scotland.

The statistics were based on data supplied by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre.

MSP Gillian Martin said: "The film industry employs thousands of people in Scotland, and we're increasingly seen as a destination location for major productions.

"As well as the direct economic impact of the industry, there's no greater advert for Scotland as a tourist destination than our cities and landscapes being shown on the big screen."

Studio facilities

There have been concerns that the lack of suitable studio space meant Scotland was losing out to other parts of the UK in the race to attract major film and TV productions.

Two rival plans for major film studios in the east of Scotland are being developed.

Image caption A major film studio facility could be established in the Port of Leith

PSL Land has proposed a site at Saltersgate, near Dalkeith in Midlothian.

The new studio would span 48 acres, with nine sound stages across 208,000 square feet.

There would also be workshops across 122,000 square feet, a commissary building, and media hub.

PSL is also talking to Edinburgh Napier University about establishing a Scottish Film Academy on the site with teaching facilities, screening rooms and student accommodation.

Screen Scotland has given its backing to the re-development of an industrial building in the Port of Leith.

It has started a tender process for a developer to lease, refurbish and run the "big blue shed" port building.

Screen Scotland said the studio could be up and running by the end of 2019.

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