The combined total UK spend on film and high-end (HETV) productions for the full year 2021 was a record £5.64bn, according to the BFI. This figure was £1.27bn higher than the previous peak reported in 2019. The second quarter of 2021 featured the highest combined spend on production of any quarter on record, with £2.29 billion for 138 productions.
The total number of film and HETV productions for 2021 was 420, 19 per cent higher than the 353 productions which started principal photography during 2020.
While production ground to halt at the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020, a series of industry agreements over safe working practices and support measures from the Government enabled production to restart from October 2020, with recovery accelerating into 2021.
In 2021, 209 films began principal photography, with a total UK production spend of £1.55 billion. This is 3 per cent higher than the £1.5 billion spent across 350 films in 2020. Inward investment productions accounted for 82 per cent of the total UK spend (£1.28bn).
Spend on UK domestic features was £221 million or 14 per cent of the 2021 spend, compared with £158m in 2020, 10 per cent of the total UK spend on film production. Coproductions accounted for £58 million, or 4 per cent of the UK spend.
There were 211 high-end television productions filming in 2021. Total HETV production spend for 2021 was £4.09bn, by a large margin this is highest reported spend, nearly double the previous high of £2.21 billion in 2019.
Of the total number of productions, 94 or 45% were domestic generating a totalspend of £648 million (16% of the total UK spend). Total inward investment and co-production spend onHETV was £3.44 billion (84% of the total spend) across 117 productions. All of these figures are the highest, by a large margin, since the HETV tax relief was introduced in 2013.
The UK production spend for animation programmes in 2021 was £73 million from 30 productions. Both of these figures are a drop from the figures for 2020. 2021 has seen a strengthening in a trend for projects that may previously have applied for film tax reliefto instead apply as high-end television programmes. 2021 has seen a growth in single, non-episodic productions made as high-end television.