Record Spend - A record £4bn was spent making TV shows in the UK in the past year - almost double the figure before the pandemic. TV production slumped during lockdown but rebounded to a new high between October 2020 and September 2021, the British Film Institute (BFI) has said.
Some £4.14bn was spent filming British and foreign shows like Bridgerton and Peaky Blinders in the UK in that time. That compares with the £2.3bn spent in the same period in 2018-19 and is 10 times more than was spent in 2013. The latest figure includes money spent by British TV channels on home-made series like Doctor Who, The Bay, Shetland and Ghosts.
It also includes forthcoming streaming shows like The Essex Serpent from Apple TV+, Andor from Disney+ and Netflix productions like The Sandman and the new series of Bridgerton.
Netflix alone spent £740m making 60 TV shows and films in the UK in 2020, the BFI said, and has recently announced plans to double the size of its base at Shepperton Studios in Surrey.
Seaside Sounds - Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Stereophonics and Sugababes are among the first acts to be confirmed for next year's Victorious Festival in Portsmouth. Liverpudlian three-piece The Wombats and Mancunian indie group James are also set to feature at the event in Southsea between 26 and 28 August. Andy Marsh, the festival's director, said it was "nice to get excited about Victorious this side of Christmas". He said the acts confirmed so far were a "little taste of what to expect".
COVID Cancellations - A number of theatres have cancelled their Christmas shows after junior cast members caught COVID-19. The Chrysalis Theatre in Milton Keynes said it had taken the "very difficult decision" not to go ahead with the production of Peter Pan. Steven Gordon-Wilson of 1702 Productions said the theatre space was shared with vulnerable groups and the company felt cancellation was best. The pantomime was due to run to 2 January. The theatre, which has 200 seats, said refunds would be offered to ticket holders and that it hoped to reopen for other productions soon.
Farewell - Michael Nesmith, singer, guitarist and songwriter with 1960s pop group The Monkees, has died at the age of 78. The quartet enjoyed hits like Daydream Believer and I'm A Believer and starred in their own popular TV sitcom. Nesmith wrote numerous tunes including Listen To The Band, Sunny Girlfriend and Tapioca Tundra. Fellow Monkees band member Micky Dolenz said he was "heartbroken" at having "lost a dear friend and partner".
(Jim Evans)
14 December 2021

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