Time and Help drives LCR Production Fund Recapitalisation
- Additional £1m over 12 months for Liverpool Film Office’s LCR Production Fund to attract more high-end productions to the city region.
- Targets feature films, TV drama, animation and comedy series with investments of between £100K and £500k.
- Several BBC, C4 and ITV-commissioned projects already supported by the Fund.
Liverpool Film Office has secured top-up funding for its LCR Production Fund from Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s Strategic Investment Fund. The new monies will enable the Fund to target a further 3 – 4 investments over the next 12 months, with priority given to those productions that can create significant opportunities for locally-based above and below the line talent as well as production facilities, locations and other services.
The recapitalisation is a strong vote of confidence in the Fund which has previously invested over £1.7m in six projects including Jimmy McGovern’s acclaimed BBC drama Time and C4’s hit Help starring Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, as well as the primetime series The Responder with Martin Freeman and The Ipcress File with Joe Cole, both of which are expected to be broadcast early next year.
Both Time and Help have broken records for their respective PSB’s streaming services, with Time being one of BBC’s highest performing new dramas of 2021 with 11.6 million viewers over 28 days, and Help hitting 1.1 million streams after just 4 days – the biggest ever launch of a new drama on All 4.
Collectively, the six productions so far supported are estimated to have delivered over £12m of direct inward investment into the local economy.
Launched in 2019, the Fund is part of a wider strategy to boost the economic and cultural footprint Liverpool’s film and TV industries, and to create hundreds of jobs and training opportunities. The announcement arrives as Liverpool Film Office readies to draw further production to the city region, with the opening of The Depot, Liverpool’s new purpose-built film and TV shoot space, featuring two 20,000 sq ft units.
Liverpool is the UK’s second most filmed city, and despite the ongoing challenges of COVID19, has experienced a real surge in filmmaking during the past 18 months. In addition to the productions supported by the Fund, the city has also played host to feature films and HETV dramas including The Batman, Daliland, Funny Girl, Peaky Blinders, Midas Man, COBRA: CYBERWAR, Doctor Who and Stay Close.
Christopher Moll will continue as Advisor and Executive Producer for the Fund, generating deal flow and overseeing its investments.
The Fund is open now and further information can be found at liverpoolfilmoffice.tv/production-fund.
NOTE: Liverpool Film Office is a finalist for its first LMGI Award for Outstanding Film Commission. The nomination is in recognition of the industry-leading service that the Film Office provided to location professionals in the production of Sky/Kudos TV’s Tin Star: Liverpool.
Beth Willis, Executive Producer for The Forge on Help
“The LCR Production Fund made everything possible for Help. The planning time for such a time specific show (set at the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020), during the second lockdown was extremely tight – and Chris Moll and Liverpool Film Office had our backs from the start. They supported the vision and the talent to make the show possible – and opened the doors of Liverpool to us with open arms.”
Tom Sherry, Head of Drama North for BBC Studios and Executive Producer on Time
“LCR’s Production Fund contribution was essential. Without that funding, we wouldn’t have been able to make Time, and for that we’re all enormously grateful to the city, for having the foresight to realise that, sometimes to create something, you have to support it.
“The city is helping develop an industry and a specialism within the region, and at the same time is seeing a financial return.
“By supporting this industry and enabling stories to be told and productions to go ahead, you create opportunities for people to have a role, to develop and to become a part of something special.”
Lynn Saunders, Head of Liverpool Film Office & Fund Manager
“Establishing the production fund was a huge milestone – for many years we had ambitions to attract high-end productions to Liverpool and the wider region which would utilise local crews and facilities and offer up training and opportunities for people living here. With the support of the Combined Authority we have made that ambition a reality and I couldn’t be prouder of the results so far.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Fund has played an important part in making the city region stand out as a tempting and viable filming location, and was the catalyst in solidifying our spot as the 2nd most filmed UK city this last year.
Following the opening of The Depot, this recapitalisation is a testament to the complete package we can offer productions – which also includes the unrivalled skills of our small but dedicated Liverpool Film Office, for which we’re incredibly honoured to secure an LMGI Awards nomination as an Outstanding Film Commission.
“I’m excited about the projects which can be delivered thanks to this next tranche of funding, and I have everything crossed that the productions we have already supported, will receive the awards recognition they deserve.”
Chris Moll, Fund Advisor and Executive Producer
“When we launched the Fund in 2019, our aim was ambitious, but simple – invigorate the indigenous screen sector and draw inbound producers to boost the local economy. Six investments later – we’ve not only smashed our inward investment targets and supported hundreds of jobs, but helped filmmakers create talking point, state-of-the-nation TV like Time and Help. It’s been incredibly enriching to have supported powerhouse screenwriters like Jimmy McGovern and Jack Thorne, as well as newcomer Tony Schumacher – but helping to put Stephen Graham, Martin Freeman, Joe Cole and Jodie Comer on screen in distinctively British (and Scouse) drama has surpassed all of our expectations.
“This recapitalisation is a bold backing from the Combined Authority, and we’re ready to help deliver even more premier productions in Liverpool City Region.”
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:
“This investment is testament to the exceptional work of Liverpool Film Office which is responsible for revolutionising the number of high-quality productions filmed in the city region.
“The brainchild of Liverpool Film Office, this initiative wouldn’t have been feasible without vital funding from the Combined Authority, and it’s rewarding to work in partnership on a project which is making a tangible difference to the sector.
“From the outset, demand was high and the team were in the amazing position of being able to invest in productions which have created jobs and developed skills.
Metro Mayor for Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram
“Our region is a vibrant, innovative hub of creativity and talent. Because of devolution, we’re able to target funding to help protect it through difficult periods like the pandemic, and to help it grow and flourish in ordinary times.
“Our heritage, architecture, talent and people mean that we will always be able to attract film and TV productions from across the globe. These funds have been particularly satisfying because they have been able to nurture local projects, promote local writers, directors and actors and showcase them to the rest of the country.
“We have got ambitious plans to help make our region the ‘Hollywood of the North’, with £17m already invested to develop film studios at Littlewoods, which help us cater to productions from writing and filming, right the way through to editing and post-production.”
“This latest financial boost will enable us to attract more small and large projects and continue to shine a spotlight on the city region and the creativity and talent which thrive here.”