Why Netflix could soon be filming blockbusters on the River Thames

Guy Ritchie filming 'Sherlock Holmes' on the Thames

Guy Ritchie filming 'Sherlock Holmes' on the Thames - Credit: John Rush

A project to turn the Thames into a movie hub that could rival Hollywood is searching for locations in east London.

The next Netflix hit could be produced on the banks with 1.5million sq ft of studio space and sound stages proposed at Dagenham as part of major Thames Estuary production corridor that could create thousands of jobs.  

Favourite locations in the past have included the waterfront at Wapping with Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movie

Movie crew on Thames foreshore at Wapping filming 'Sherlock Holmes' in 2008

Movie crew on Thames foreshore at Wapping filming 'Sherlock Holmes' in 2008 - Credit: John Rush

A Creative Estuary consortium of public sector and cultural organisations is looking for sits along the Thames for permanent studio facilities..

There is already planning permission for a 23-acre site with 12 sound stages and three acres of backlot and offices at Dagenham and plans for another project in Barking for six sound studios. Entrepreneurial eyes are also cast at the Royal Docks and the Olympic Park.

Estuary project director Emma Wilcox... “river has untold potential.” 

Estuary project director Emma Wilcox... “river has untold potential.” - Credit: Thames Estuary Production Corridor

“This highlights the need we are working to meet,” Creative Estuary project director Emma Wilcox said. “The Thames has untold creative potential.


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"Our aim is to use culture as the catalyst for growth, to build a place for creatives and businesses to expand.”  

The consortium has appointed a team to find potential sites in east London and create plans for industries such as fashion design and screen-based industries.

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Areas around the Olympic Park already have networks of creative businesses from design, gaming, fashion, film-making and music production that could be in their sights.  

Otherwise the UK could miss out on lucrative TV and film budgets if production companies go overseas, a report from Lambert Smith Hampton property consultancy warns.  

But the vision for the Thames Estuary is to turn the area into “one of the most creative clusters in the world” for the next generation of movie-makers that could even challenge Hollywood on the global film stage. 

Stakeholders in the project have met to look at the progress already made, among them Thames Estuary Growth Board. Its director Ken Dytor said: “Our ambition is to make sure the Thames becomes the UK’s largest and most significant concentration of creative production.” 

Thames Estuary... could rival Hollywood for movie-makers

Thames Estuary... could rival Hollywood for movie-makers - Credit: Dae Sasitorn and Adrian Warren

The “Thames corridor” project was launched by the GLA and the South East Creative Economy network and has picked up support from 11 local authorities, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, Essex County Council and University of Essex.  

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