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Lockdown Demand For Streaming Content Means More Manchester Studio Development

Gangsters in hats, or "Peaky Blinders," Steven Knight's BBC period crime series.

Space Studios Manchester, home of TV hits Peaky Blinders and Devs, is to expand.

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has flattened some parts of the media and entertainment sector, the TV business has grown, thanks to UK tax breaks and a surge in demand for streaming services.

The West Gorton studios will grow to 17 acres to meet new demand for UK studio space. This will include two 20K SF sound stages with supporting amenities. It will mean the complex has 105K SF of performance space across eight stages.

The aim is to win planning approval by summer 2020, with the first productions on the new stages by autumn 2022.

"Demand for studio space in the UK has been at an all-time high,” Space Studios Managing Director Colin Johnson said.

This growth in studio-based production has also been reflected through an increase in on-location filming in the city, which now sees close to 700 filming days a year.

The new Space Studios plan

Manchester’s streaming content industry will be helped by parallel moves from Liverpool. The city council plans to build two 20K SF sound stages on land next to the Littlewoods Building in the south of the city at Edge Lane. Together the developments help create critical mass in the north west. 

The new Liverpool studios could be operational by spring 2022 and are part of Manchester-based developer Capital & Centric’s £54M plans for the building. This being Liverpool, a city where the word 'understatement' has no meaning, the complex is being dubbed the 'Hollywood of the North'.

The studio extension comes soon after Liverpool John Moores University agreed to lease 75K SF at the 750K SF site. Twickenham Studios has signed to take another 85K SF.