Hertsmere’s film and television sector was under the spotlight during a shadow ministerial visit to the borough's three high-profile studios. 

At the invitation of council leader Cllr Jeremy Newmark, the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Thangam Debbonaire, received a guided tour of Elstree Studios, which is owned by Hertsmere Borough Council and is the home of Netflix series The Crown.

This was followed by visits to the new state-of-the-art Sky Studios Elstree and BBC Elstree, where EastEnders is made. 

During her three-part visit on Thursday, December 14, Ms Debbonaire was guided around the Strictly Come Dancing stage at Elstree Studios, received an exciting tour of the Wicked set at Sky Studios Elstree, and was treated to a visit to EastEnders’ Albert Square at BBC Elstree.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport's visit to Elstree Studios.The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport's visit to Elstree Studios. (Image: Supplied by Elstree Studios)

Cllr Newmark said: “The Shadow Secretary of State’s visit is one of a series we are co-ordinating for senior politicians from across the party spectrum to help to further cement our place as a hub for the creative sector. 

These showcasing tours also enable us to convey how we can be supported by government in the longer term to deliver on our exciting plans for the future.  

“I take every opportunity to talk to key politicians, such as Ms Debbonaire, about the need for further investment from both the public and private sector to enable the industry to continue to flourish and of our wish to see more consistency from government on tax relief. ​

“I also made it clear that the current government’s position on business rates for studios makes life extremely challenging for the sector, as well as stressing the positive impact on the local economy this thriving sector brings for our borough.”

Welwyn Hatfield Times: On the set of Strictly Come Dancing at Elstree Studios.On the set of Strictly Come Dancing at Elstree Studios. (Image: Supplied by Elstree Studios)

Rebecca Hawkes, acting head of Elstree Studios, added: "It was a privilege to welcome Ms Debbonaire to Elstree Studios. Ms Debbonaire’s enthusiasm and passion for film and television was incredibly exciting.

"The visit provided an opportunity for us to discuss the crucial role that the creative industries play in shaping the economic and cultural landscape of the UK.

At Elstree Studios we are incredibly proud of our illustrious heritage and remain committed to fostering an environment that nurtures creativity, innovation and diversity.

"We look forward to continued collaboration with central government and the shared pursuit of a vibrant and flourishing cultural landscape for the creative industries."



Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire said: “Film and TV production are so important to the regional economies of places like Hertfordshire, providing quality jobs for generations of families.

"It was great to talk with Councillor Newmark as well as the people in front of and behind the camera to explore the support they need to unleash the full potential of the film and TV sector.”

Elstree Studios has been synonymous with filmmaking since 1926.

At present, the studios are home to nine film and television stages, offering over 95,000sq ft of stage space in addition to an extensive backlot.

However, three stages — Stages 7, 8 and 9 at the Borehamwood site — are due to be demolished next year and eventually replaced.

The George Lucas stages, named after the Star Wars director, are among the tallest in Europe, and the new Platinum Stages provide 34,000 sq ft of stage space.