The UK Film & TV Industry: A breakdown

10 April, 2024

Whether you are still reeling from Barry Keoghan’s infamous bathtub scene or humming along to ‘I’m Just Ken’, 2023 will go down in history as a fantastic year for film and TV.

Last year saw a huge win for Hollywood writers and actors, who negotiated revolutionary new guidelines about the use of AI in video projects.

It was also a milestone year for female directors: arguably the most talked-about films of the year were directed by Greta Gerwig and Emerald Fennell. Even so, it was Oppenheimer that cleaned up at the BAFTAs and Oscars, winning seven awards at each.

The film and TV industry is constantly evolving, and we must adapt with it. Screen and Film School is committed to staying ahead of the curve, providing students with unrivalled networking opportunities, access to cutting-edge technology, and masterclasses from eminent industry professionals…

But first, let’s talk numbers.

The facts

Data gathered by the British Film Institute (BFI) shows that trips to UK cinemas have risen by 5.5% since 2022.

In 2023, the UK spent £4.23 billion on film and high-end television production.

Total box office revenue has increased by 4%, although it is still lower than before the pandemic.

Earning over £95.6 million at the box office, Barbie was the highest grossing film of the year in the UK.

The highest grossing independent film in the UK was The Great Escaper, which amassed £5.31 million.

Writers’ strikes make an impact

From May to September 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike over issues such as wages, working conditions, pensions, and the use of artificial intelligence in film and TV productions.

The strike lasted 148 days in total, causing big US shows such as Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale to grind to a halt. In total, it is estimated to have cost the US economy approximately $5 billion (£4.08 billion).

The strike officially ended on September 27 2023, and the new contract features guardrails for how AI can be used for scriptwriting, ensuring that workers cannot legally be replaced by the new technology. This groundbreaking negotiation will hopefully become a model for other organisations within the creative industries.

#OscarsSoWhite: Diversity in the film industry

The 2015 Oscars was slammed for its lack of diversity, when not a single non-white actor was nominated for an award, and the same thing happened at the BAFTAs in 2020.

However, progress has certainly been made in the last few years. At the recent Oscars, seven of the 20 acting nominees were from underrepresented groups. And although she ultimately lost out to Emma Stone, Lily Gladstone made history as the first Native American nominated for Best Actress.

At the 2024 BAFTAs, non-white actors made up 25% of acting nominations. The prestigious award of Best Supporting Actress went to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for her role in The Holdovers.

“Thanks to Barbie, all problems of feminism have been solved.”

Well, not quite.

Even with more and more women stepping into the spotlight in production roles, there is a long way to go until we achieve gender parity in the film industry, according to a recent report entitled Re-Framing the Picture.

The report, which examined 12,000 films made over the course of 15 years, found that men held 78% of all creative positions in the UK. At the current rate of progress, it will take 61 years for a 50-50 gender split.

We believe that in order to help women break these glass ceilings, British film companies must work to tackle unconscious bias; introduce firm measures to combat abuse; and follow recommendations for equal gender financing.

What’s on the telly?

2024 got off to a brilliant start. Kicking off the year was the iconic ITV drama about the British Post Office Scandal, which demonstrated the power of television to impact politics.

And right now, you can binge The Traitors, cringe at The Apprentice, or shed a tear at Netflix’s One Day. We’re also looking forward to:

  • HBO’s House of the Dragon Season 2: will Rhaenyra get her revenge?
  • The 14th series of Doctor Who, which features a brand-new collaboration with Disney, as well as a brand-new Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa).
  • The highly anticipated third season of Bridgerton, in which Penelope Featherington may finally get her man!

How is the government helping?

The British government has launched a new tax credit system for film, TV and video game production companies. From 1 January 2024, there is an extra £42,500 in tax relief for children’s TV and animated projects, as well as £5,000 for high-end TV, film or video game production.

In November 2023, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also announced tax relief for visual effects (VFX) spending. This comes after the UK Screen Alliance’s evidence that the current tax structure was driving VFX business away from the UK.

Our exclusive masterclasses

Here at Screen and Film School, we pride ourselves in our industry connections, with our legendary masterclasses giving students the opportunity to learn from the very best in the business.

In 2023, Brighton Screen and Film School welcomed Oscar-winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Saltburn), as well as cinematographers Seamus McGarvey (Atonement) and Eben Bolter (The Last of Us), while Manchester film students put their questions to costume designer Daniella Pearman (Sex Education).

We’ll help you ‘make it’

Careers in the film and TV industry are incredibly varied. Screen and Film School students have gone on to become producers and directors, but also studio technicians, make-up artists and camera operators. Notably, a couple of our recent graduates have been runners on Gogglebox and ITV’s crime drama Grace.

To find out more about how Screen and Film School is helping students break into the film and TV industry, and to browse our courses, please visit our website.



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