Barking & Dagenham’s enterprising leader, Darren Rodwell, is excited by the now-approved plans for a big new film and TV studio in his borough, a project backed from their inception by Sadiq Khan. Meanwhile, with less fanfare so far, Enfield Council has ambitions to make its borough “the premier location for TV and film production in London” in the words of deputy leader Ian Barnes, himself a TV director.
There is, it appears, growing demand for such facilities in the capital, which has a long tradition in the field, including the often forgotten Teddington TV studios by the Thames locks in Richmond, recently demolished. But where film in particular is concerned, nothing really competes with the legacy of Ealing Studios.
Still providing production facilities today, Ealing opened in 1902 and became synonymous with a string of very British movies in the post-war years up until 1955, when the studios were bought by the BBC. Some of the most famous, such as The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and Passport to Pimlico (1949) were set in London, and captured the flavour of the city in those times. Here’s an excellent, nine-minute, British Film Institute video exploring Ealing’s history, character and importance.
Will Dagenham or Enfield one day create London movies as memorable as Ealing’s? What a glorious outcome that would be.
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