The government has extended its £500m insurance scheme protecting film and TV productions in the UK against the cost of Covid shutdowns until the end of the year. Last year, more than £2.8bn was spent on making Hollywood blockbusters and prestige dramas in the UK, from Line of Duty, War of the Worlds and The Witcher to Jurassic World: Dominion, Mission: Impossible 7, Batman and the third instalment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
The scheme, which was due to end in April, has so far supported more than 200 productions to get back up and running, saving an estimated 24,000 jobs since being launched in October. Despite the support, the total amount spent on film and high-end TV production fell by a fifth last year, as all productions across the UK were forced to close in the early months of the pandemic.
However, the introduction of the scheme and industry-wide move to Covid-safe sets fuelled a £1.2bn spending spree in the final quarter of last year, the second highest ever quarterly spend on record, as broadcasters, Hollywood studios and streamers rushed to plug the pandemic gap in fresh content that viewers were facing.