More than 600 feature films and television productions have gone into production in the UK since the government-funded Film and TV Production Restart Scheme was announced in July last year, as the industry has moved into pandemic recovery.

The scheme was backed by £500 million to support films and television productions, which were ready to start or restart but unable to secure insurance against potential coronavirus-related delays and interruptions, such as illness among key cast and crew.

Get the latest from the BFI

Sign up for BFI news, features, videos and podcasts.

Launched for registrations in October last year, allowing claims backdated to July, the scheme has enabled productions to get off the ground in the second half of 2020 and has helped the sector to bounce back and record the third highest spend (£1.19 billion) for any quarter on record since 2015. 

To date the scheme has enabled:

  • 640 independent films and television productions to start or restart within a year of the scheme being set up
  • A total budget spend of £1.9 billion across the 640 productions on the scheme, enabling the UK production sector to be a significant contributor to the UK economy
  • More than 55,000 jobs to be provided by the productions which have registered with the scheme

The scheme has been kept under review as the sector has recovered from the impact of the pandemic and was extended to provide cover until the end of this year as part of the budget. 

Other measures have also played a part in the sector being able to make a confident recovery.   Detailed COVID-19 health and safety guidance for film and high-end television drama production, other types of television programmes and for post-production/VFX was developed by the industry as part of the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force and supported by the government.

“I’ve seen firsthand how this scheme has been a lifeline during this pandemic,” says Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary, “keeping the cameras rolling on TV and film sets across the country, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the process – from actors, make-up artists and technicians all the way to catering companies and transport firms.Thanks to this scheme, our screen industry is raring to go – and British-made productions will be at the heart of our recovery.”

“Our world-leading film and TV industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs,” says Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, “that’s why it was so important we helped it to get up and running again as part of our Plan for Jobs. It’s great that one year on since its launch the Restart Scheme has given so many productions the confidence to keep shooting, supporting jobs across the UK and producing the film and TV we all love.”

Several productions registered with the scheme have returned or are returning to our screens shortly including The Bay, Midsomer Murders, Peaky Blinders and Gentleman Jack. The film Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth has just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and Boxing Day, the UK’s first ever festive romantic comedy starring an all-Black cast, were films that registered early with the scheme. Terence Davies’ Benediction starring Jack Lowden and Peter Capaldi has just been announced for screening at the San Sebastian and Toronto International Film Festival, both taking place in September.

A full list of independent film and television productions using the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme is published. Productions which may not yet have been announced but are on board the scheme are not published.

In addition to the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, the screen industry has also benefited from £27.6 million of support to independent cinemas through the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.