Research commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s UK Global Screen Fund, managed by the BFI on behalf of the UK government, has shown that UK film and TV play a vital role in influencing positive international opinion of the country, attracting global viewers to visit our world-famous locations and landmarks and demonstrating the sector’s soft power.

Nearly three quarters (70%) of global audiences recognise ‘Britishness’ as a mark of high-quality, with UK storylines, acting and production values given as the main reason for quality. Over two thirds (67%) of respondents cited UK talent as one of our key strengths, with 69% enjoying our distinct sense of humour and 73% citing intelligence as a key quality.

The research from the BFI’s Research and Statistics Unit across 15 international territories also showed the positive impact of producing films and TV series in the UK. Two thirds (66%) of people who have previously visited the country said that seeing British locations and landmarks in film or TV influenced their decision, showing the huge indirect impact of the UK screen sectors on other parts of our economy, including tourism and hospitality.

“The UK independent production industry is world-leading,” says Julia Lopez, Minister for the Creative Industries, “consistently serving up innovative, creative and inspirational content for big and small screens that wow audiences across the globe. Thanks to our brilliant UK Global Screen Fund, we are creating skilled jobs and boosting the UK’s international influence, which has a positive knock-on impact on tourism and the wider economy.”

To further boost the international impact of UK film, television and video games, the UK Global Screen Fund has also supported the development of a new brand ScreenUK to promote screen content around the world. 

ScreenUK is an eye-catching and distinctive new brand to showcase and celebrate UK screen talent which will launch as a digital  campaign, rolling out internationally over the coming months. Aiming to highlight current high quality UK film, television and video games under a single brand banner, it will help distinguish and promote British content to international audiences. 

“This extensive global research shaped how the new brand ScreenUK was developed,” says Neil Peplow, the BFI’s Director of International, “giving us valuable insights into how people around the world see us. When it comes to creativity and storytelling, the UK consistently produces outstanding talent and content and this report underlines how influential the UK film, TV and games sectors are on the global stage. We now have a huge opportunity to build on this reputation and show the full breadth, diversity and innovation we can offer to audiences, and support our screen businesses to succeed internationally.”

ScreenUK was at the BIFAs (British Independent Film Awards) last Sunday talking to some of the UK’s most exciting talent. 

Adeel Akhtar, star of Ali and Ava, Killing Eve and Enola Holmes, said: “British independent film, unlike any other independent film from around the world (…) feels like it does act as a window into reality. Whether you’re watching a Ken Loach film, or a Mike Leigh film, a Clio Barnard film, it’s almost like you can open up a window in those places, actually open a window, and experience what it’s like to be living in those areas in those parts of Britain.”

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, star of Belle, A Wrinkle in Time and Misbehaviour said: “There’s so much heart and authenticity in British films because they’re often passion projects, they’re labours of love. There’s such a rich culture here, and such a deep culture of storytelling.”