Topping out at The Depot, city’s new film and TV production development

A CGI of The Depot
X The Business Desk

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Liverpool’s new purpose-built film and TV stages have officially been named.

The new production facilities are to be called The Depot, taking inspiration from the location’s history as a former bus site for Merseyside Transport.

The naming coincides with news that Morgan Sindall Construction, which is building the stages on behalf of Liverpool City Council, has reached the first major milestone for The Depot, with the topping out of the two 20,000 sq ft sound studios.

Situated next to the famous Littlewoods Building, off Edge Lane, The Depot is seen as critical to Liverpool’s strategy to cement its reputation as one of Europe’s premier film and TV production hubs.

Ideally located, being just a 10 minute drive from the city centre and the M62, The Depot is one of the major projects earmarked in Liverpool’s Recovery Plan to stimulate the city’s post-pandemic economy.

It is expected that the sound stages, which have received funding from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, will be operational by this summer.

Liverpool City Council’s Development Team and Film Office, which was the first of its kind in Europe, is overseeing the scheme and the Film Office is already in talks regarding major global production use of the stages.

Liverpool is one of the major film destinations in the UK and, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, is experiencing the busiest period for film and TV production on record, in part accelerated by investment in several shows from the Liverpool City Region Production Fund.

The pop-up studios will offer a temporary facility to capitalise on the current demand for studio space until the nearby Littlewoods studios scheme is complete.

It is predicted The Depot will create a £24m boost for the regional economy, creating 360 jobs and 760 indirect jobs.

The city is currently hosting illustrious productions such as ITV’s remake of The Ipcress File and BBC’s Peaky Blinders and The Responder starring Martin Freeman, as well as recently welcoming blockbusters such as Warner Bros’ The Batman, and high end TV drama such as Netflix’s The Irregulars, Channel 4’s Help (w/t), BBC’s Time and Sky’s COBRA and Tin Star: Liverpool.

Cillr Wendy Simon, acting Mayor of Liverpool, said: “I think The Depot is a perfect name for these studios – as it’s a place where ideas will come to life and will make the magic we enjoy on the screen happen.

“As a well as being a nod to the site’s history, The Depot is also a signpost to the city’s future – one built on a creative and knowledge-based workforce.”

She added: “The topping out of The Depot is an exciting moment in the journey to realising Liverpool’s ambition to be a 24/7 film city. There’s already a huge amount of interest to book these studios, which underlines their value, but they will also prove to be a fabulous asset for training and nurturing talent in Liverpool.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I’ve long said our region is the country’s creative capital and we’re investing to make sure it stays that way. We’ve approved investment of £17m to support the new stages, along with the Littlewood Film and TV studios, and it’s fantastic to see the new production facilities topped out.”

Richard Potts, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The topping out of The Depot is not just a key moment in the construction of these brilliant new sound stages, but also a milestone in how our city can flourish in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”