Twickenham Film Studios plans £15m refurb
The oldest studios in London will receive an investment boost to create a state of the art TV studio and a series of public spaces. This includes a substantial extension of its campus in Richmond, south-west London.
Planning has been submitted to Richmond council and the developers hope to start work later this year. The expected completion date is October 2022. The studio was taken over last year by The Creative District Improvement Co, who will put up the money via investment from sources as diverse as the British Airways Pension Fund and General Projects.
Improvements to the existing campus include upgraded sound production and a new sound mixing suite, a boutique cinema and a new TV production studio with audience involvement facilities. Other public spaces will include a rooftop bar and cafe plus flexible workspaces.
Piers Read and Jeremy Rainbird will lead the project which will also include the refurbishment of existing studios and other buildings. Read and Rainbird are committed to creating one million square feet of production space and 5,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.
Other projects planned by TCDI include a new studio complex near Ashford International Station in Kent that would include four new sound stages and the expansion of Twickenham into the old Littlewoods Pools Building in Liverpool.
Heritage and investment
In a joint statement Read and Rainbird said the physical enhancement of the Twickenham campus would preserve the heritage of the existing studios while investing in ‘cutting-edge facilities and best-in-class production workflows’. Improvements will centre around sound, TV and films in a series of spaces designed by Guy Hollaway of Hollaway Studio.
Hollaway will use materials including pigmented concrete to create a playful facade that nods to the studios past and its future.
Cara Sheppard, managing director, called the plans an ‘important turning point’ for the iconic studio, where movies including Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody, McMafia and Baby Driver were produced. She said the investment in new technologies would ensure that Twickenham would continue to attract the best talent.
Originally known as St Margarets Studio, Twickenham was built on the site of an old ice rink in 1913. Black Mirror and Inside 9 are just some of the highly successful TV shows that have been filmed there while the Beatles made Hard Day’s Night and Help! At the studio.
TCDI have said they want to evolve the Twickenham campus into a world class hub for tech and innovation in London. The team are hoping that the newly refurbished studios will build on a century of filmmaking and welcome filmmakers and productions of all levels.
The significant investment in new facilities and regeneration will make Twickenham a dynamic hub as the content revolution goes from strength to strength. Read and Rainbow decided to invest in the studio as streaming giants like Amazon and Netflix continue to look for more studio space in the UK. The pair initially took over Twickenham last February but their plans have been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.