Jodie Comer and Steven Graham success helps secure another £1m for Liverpool film industry

The investment coincides with the opening of The Depot film and TV studios and is part of the region’s ambitious plan to become the ‘Hollywood of the North’.

Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer. Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Disney

Another £1 million of funding will be pumped into high-end TV and film productions in the Liverpool City Region (LCR) following the success of hit dramas Help and Time.

Help, which starred Liverpool actors Steven Graham and Jodie Comer, set a record for a new drama on streaming service All 4 when it was aired in September – attracting 1.1 million views in just four days.

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Prison drama Time, starring Graham and Sean Bean, was one of the BBC’s highest performing new dramas of 2021.

The shows were two of six high-end TV productions supported by an initial £1.78 million boost from LCR’s Production Fund.

BBC series The Responder, starring Martin Freeman, and ITV’s remake of the Ipcress File, starring Joe Cole, are among other productions to benefit from the fund and are due to be released early next year.

What will the additional £1m be used for?

The new £1m investment in the LCR Production Fund, which is managed by the city council’s Liverpool Film Office, is expected to be ploughed in two to four more productions.

High-end TV dramas represent the biggest growth area.

The investment will target productions that provide opportunities for locally-based talent.

What benefits will the funding bring to Liverpool?

According to forecasts from LCR, the initial £1.78 million investment generated £12 million of spending in the city region and led to 455 full time jobs.

It also led to the creation of 29 training places as the film boom was felt across the city region.

It is expected that the extra funding will provide similar opportunities.

The additional finance coincides with the opening of The Depot – two film and TV studios off Liverpool’s Edge Lane.

The Combined Authority has committed £17 million to develop The Depot and larger studios in the adjacent Littlewoods building as part of a vision to turn the city region into the ‘Hollywood of the North’.

Reaction to extra the funding

Beth Willis, Executive Producer for The Forge on Help said: “The LCR Production Fund made everything possible for Help.

“The planning time for such a time specific show (set at the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020), during the second lockdown was extremely tight – and Chris Moll and Liverpool Film Office had our backs from the start.

“They supported the vision and the talent to make the show possible – and opened the doors of Liverpool to us with open arms.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, who approved the funding, said: “Our heritage, architecture, talent and people mean that we will always be able to attract film and TV productions from across the globe.

“These funds have been particularly satisfying because they have been able to nurture local projects, promote local writers, directors and actors and showcase them to the rest of the country.”