If you regularly travel on the District line, get used to spotting a bleary-eyed celeb or stormtrooper rehearsing their lines on your morning commute. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today announced plans to explore building a massive film and TV studio in Dagenham, east London.
The mayor is working with Film London, the London Local Enterprise Panel and Barking and Dagenham Council on a feasibility study for what would be London’s first purpose-built film and TV studio in 25 years. ‘London has a vibrant production history and some of the best studios in the world,' Khan said. 'London is open to the best creative and cultural minds and I am looking forward to exploring whether a new film studio in Dagenham could help the capital’s film industry thrive for years to come.'
Why Dagenham? The potential new site, located in front of an industrial park, is a whopper, allowing an entirely bespoke new facility to be built. It’s also well-connected with the District line, and Crossrail is coming soon. The project would also bring jobs to one of London’s poorest boroughs, which was once home to the biggest factory in Europe, Ford Dagenham (which as of 2014 employed 2,800 workers).
London is already the third-biggest city for film production, after LA and New York, attracting £1 billion in inward investment last year. The London Local Enterprise Partnership and Barking and Dagenham Council will invest up to £80,000 to develop a business case for the proposed new studios.
The big question now is, what would we call it? There’s Hollywood… There's Bollywood… Dolly Parton’s already got Dollywood.