Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga and James Bond’s No Time to Die are just a handful of the productions that have been filmed in Scotland, and a new report confirms that TV and film is blossoming north of the border.
Screen Scotland’s report reveals that the industries contributed more than £568m ($697m) to the country’s economy in 2019, a figure it hopes to double by the end of the decade.
Amazon Prime has made two series of Good Omens and the forthcoming Anansi Boys, also based on a book by Neil Gaiman. Douglas Mackinnon, showrunner on both titles, told the BBC:
“There were lots of discussions, and of course it all came down to money and practicalities but the bottom line was we could make it in Scotland, and at the top level.”
Screen Scotland’s report, focusing on 2019 before the pandemic closed down multiple productions, cited various titles for the boom in the local industry: Outlander series 5, the 25th James Bond film No Time to Die, season four of The Crown, Our Ladies, The Cry and Netflix’s Eurovision film with Will Ferrell.
Scottish Culture Secretary Angus Robertson told the BBC: “If the growth trend continues, it will grow from half a billion to £1bn by the year 2030,” he said. “This is tremendous news for the Scottish economy in general.”
The report comes after David Smith, director of Screen Scotland, added his voice to those arguing strongly against the privatization of Channel 4, the state-owned broadcaster which the government is currently planning to sell.
Smith recently told the Scottish parliament’s Constitution, Europe, External Affairs and Culture that public sector broadcasters are the cornerstone of the creative economy, with the the BBC and Channel 4 accounting for 87% of the sector.
“There’s no evidence to suggest that the sale of Channel 4 to a private buyer would be good for Scotland or for the UK production sector and I think we have plenty of reasons to be concerned,” Mr Smith said.