Minister for Economy Edwina Hart has welcomed the decision by US-based Fox 21 Television Studios to take over the studio for production of its latest historic TV blockbuster series The Bastard Executioner, from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter.
The Welsh Government has worked closely with Price Waterhouse Coopers to secure the lease for Fox 21 Television Studios on Dragon Studios, which has been in the hands of administrators since 2008.
Fox 21 Television Studios has already invested in the studios for the filming of their latest TV series, The Bastard Executioner, which is due to premiere on US TV later this month. It is hoped that the long-term lease of Dragon Studios may bring even more American TV and film productions to Wales in the future.
The site - nicknamed “Valleywood” - includes four major sound studios providing 60,000 sq ft of studio space as well as office facilities. The project was initially backed by the late Oscar-winning director and actor Lord Attenborough, who chaired the Dragon International Studios consortium. The studios have previously been used to shoot of the medieval siege movie Ironclad, as well as several British TV series including Doctor Who, Whites, Upstairs Downstairs and Merlin.
The Minister visited Dragon Studios to tour the sets of The Bastard Executioner, including a medieval village and castle, with Production Designer Giles Masters and Executive Producer Paris Barclay, President of the Directors Guild of America, whose other TV credits include NYPD Blue, ER, The West Wing, CSI, Lost and Glee.
Mrs Hart said
“Fox 21 Television Studios’ commitment to Dragon Studios in Pencoed is excellent news for the Welsh TV and film industry. We are supporting this venture as part of our ambition to establish Wales as an international centre of excellence for high-end TV drama and film production.
“It is testament to the high-quality infrastructure, beautiful locations and talented workforce here in Wales that Fox 21 Television Studios have made this long term commitment to Dragon Studios. I look forward to seeing even more high quality drama being made here in the future.
“The creative industries are one of our fastest growing priority sectors. The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring further growth by supporting this venture at Dragon Studios and others like Pinewood Studio Wales and the establishment of the Bad Wolf production company, operating between South Wales and LA.
“All this will bring more international TV drama productions to Wales, leading to increased inward investment and production spend, strengthening of the supply chain, and increasing the skills base of local talent working within the creative industries to create wider economic benefits for the whole of Wales.”
In the 2014-2015 financial year, TV drama productions supported by the Welsh Government spent over £32m on services supplied by businesses and individual freelancers located in and operating in Wales.