Express & Star

Peaky Blinders movie to be filmed at new flagship West Midlands studio

The director of Peaky Blinders has confirmed that the film version of the hit BBC show is set to be filmed in his new flagship film studios in the West Midlands.

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Peaky Blinders creator and acclaimed producer and screenwriter Steven Knight.

Steven Knight said the filming of the movie will be based in the brand new Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham, as well as locations around Birmingham and the Black Country Museum, as he officially opened the studios today.

The new high profile studios are the brainchild of the acclaimed British screenwriter, director and producer, alongside business partner, CEO of urban regeneration company TIME + SPACE, Piers Read.

He said he aims to create a long-term cultural legacy for his home city by welcoming major blue chip brands to the multimedia headquarters.

Steven Knight’s project follows the huge international success of Peaky Blinders, which has put Birmingham and the wider West Midlands on the global cultural map.

Construction on the site started on Tuesday, with works expected to be complete by July 15, ready for occupation, and Steven Knight said he was delighted to finally be able to film his creation there.

He said: "It's wonderful as I've been trying to get the production into Birmingham for a long time and there's always been reasons why we couldn't do it.

"Now, there are no reasons why we can't do it as we've made them go away, and this is a very exciting time as I've been working at this for nine years.

"I love the architecture and look of the place and I have no intention of destroying it as we want to keep it and improve it and take a beautiful old building like this and plant a new industry."

The first filming onsite will take place in October, as Digbeth Loc. Studios officially becomes open for business from next week.

The £1.3 million investment by Birmingham City Council, together with landowner Homes England and with support from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), aims to mobilise the region’s £4 billion Creative Economy, offering a flagship focal point to draw and inspire both local and international screen industries talent.

It is anticipated the studios will contribute more than £30 million to the local economy, creating 760 local jobs, something West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said was a massive boost for the area.

He said: "It means that we are making films here in the heart of Birmingham and it means that the youngsters who are studying media disciplines can look forward to a career in film production right here in Birmingham.

"It's another big thing that has come to the region and I do look at it with a sense of pride as this really is about relaunching the whole creative TV and film industry in the region as it took a huge step backwards when the BBC moved away.

"Having Steven at the forefront gives it great credibility as well as I don't think it would have happened without his driving force behind it and we've all been little supporters along the way."

Digbeth Loc. Studios represents the first major television and film production facilities of this scale to ever be developed in Birmingham, reigniting the city’s illustrious heritage as a UK base for programme-making and broadcasting.

A range of internationally lauded productions are already committed to partnering with Digbeth Loc. Studios.

These include the BBC drama This Town, made by Kudos, a Banijay UK company, telling the story of the West Midlands’ ground-breaking ska and two-tone heritage, and the world’s most successful food format, MasterChef, produced by Shine TV, also part of Banijay UK.

An area of the new studios is also expected to be occupied by legendary Birmingham reggae band UB40, making it a wide-ranging, multimedia West Midlands home for upcoming and existing creative and cultural talent.

Steven Knight said the benefit of having a studio such as Digbeth Loc. would benefit the whole region and spoke of the jobs boost that could come from the studios.

He said: "The halo effect of a film studio is pretty well-documented and I look at places like Vancouver and Seattle and how the film industry has become one of their biggest industries and while it might not happen overnight, there's no reason why it shouldn't happen here.

"What we don't want to do is ship people in from London and Manchester as we want to train and skill up the people from around here, with a film academy being opened and 20 per cent of the intake being educated for free by Kudos and selected from Birmingham and Black Country postcodes.

"If you're a spark, you can be a part of the film industry, whether it's as a cameraman, a driver or any other part of the crew as it all goes into making the movie industry."

Piers Read, CEO and Founder of TIME + SPACE, said: “As the former MD of the Custard Factory in Digbeth, ever since I left, I always wanted to be back, and this announcement today sees that dream become a reality.

"This is just the beginning. For us, it is all about making a place that provides the experience to producers providing the key amenities and creature comforts the modern-day production deserves.

"This is something TIME + SPACE has a proven track record of delivering.”

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