New Sky Studios Elstree development celebrates topping out milestone

Sky Studios Elstree - Sajida Bijle, Nigel Wilson, Cllr. Morris Bright MBE, Rt. Hon Oliver Dowden, Cécile Frot-Coutaz

Hertsmere Borough Council managing director Sajida Bijle, Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General Group, Cllr Morris Bright MBE, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, and Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO Sky Studios. - Credit: Sky Studios Elstree / Andrea Southam

Hertfordshire's newest state-of-the-art film and TV studio has celebrated another major milestone in its construction.

Sky Studios Elstree held a topping out ceremony to mark the final steelwork being installed on the highest structure on the 27.5-acre site ahead of its planned 2022 opening.

Reaching a height of 16m, the last piece of steel was secured on the roof of a 60,000 sq ft soundstage using a specially made green bolt, representing Sky Studios Elstree’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio.

Commenting on this significant moment, Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden said: “Sky Studios Elstree is a huge investment in our creative industries and is helping to fuel the economy, both locally and nationally.

"Across Hertsmere and the surrounding areas, we are creating a hotbed for film and TV production, building on the area's strong heritage in the screen arts, and it’s great to see Sky pushing ahead with training and supporting the next generation of local talent.

"During COP26, I am also very proud that Sky Studios Elstree is set to be the greenest studio in the world when it opens next year.”

The project – made with the backing of Sky’s owner Comcast and sister company NBCUniversal – was first announced in late 2019 with planning permission granted in summer 2020.

Just 16 months later, Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden attended the topping out ceremony on site to secure the final bolt alongside Cllr Morris Bright, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, Sajida Bijle, Hertsmere's managing director, Sky Studios CEO Cécile Frot-Coutaz, Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General, and Adam Harding, regional director, South East of BAM.

Sky Studios Elstree celebrates Topping Out milestone

Adam Harding (regional director for the South East, BAM), Diana Foxlee (director of Sky Spaces, Sky), Colin Jones (chief operating officer, Sky), Sajida Bijle (managing director of Hertsmere Borough Council), Ross Whear (head of planning and economic development, Hertsmere Borough Council), Councillor Morris Bright MBE (leader of Hertsmere Borough Council), Gordon Aitchison (director, investment and development, LGIM Real Assets, Legal & General), Oliver Dowden MP, Cécile Frot-Coutaz (CEO, Sky Studios), George Shepherd (senior development manager, L&G), Caroline Cooper (chief operating officer, Sky Studios), and Nigel Wilson (CEO, Legal & General Group). - Credit: Sky Studios Elstree / Andrea Southam

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Set to become operational in early 2022, and fully open with 13 sound stages later in the year, Sky Studios Elstree will create 2,000 jobs locally.

It will become home to new film and TV projects from Sky and NBCUniversal, attracting £3bn of new production investment over the first five years alone.
Cllr Bright said: “Sky Studios Elstree will bring more jobs, investment and training to Hertsmere, helping to drive forward the local economy.

"Alongside the two new sound stages at Elstree Studios, this development is further cementing Elstree & Borehamwood’s reputation as the home of UK film and TV production."

Sajida Bijle, the borough council's MD, added: “We are proud to support the development of Sky Studios Elstree, which has progressed rapidly since planning approval was granted just 16 months ago.

"It is an exciting time for the screen industries in Hertsmere and we look forward to seeing the final development take shape over the coming months.” 

Kicking off last week, COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference, is currently taking place in Glasgow with world leaders, businesses and the global community joining together to tackle climate change.

Sky is a principal patron and media partner of COP26 and, as part of the media and entertainment company's commitment to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030, it is building Sky Studios Elstree to be the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio.

Sky Studios Elstree

How Sky Studios Elstree will look when it is finished. - Credit: Sky Studios Elstree

Sky Studios chief executive Cécile Frot-Coutaz said: “Sky Studios Elstree is a significant investment in the UK’s creative industry and represents Sky, NBCUniversal and Comcast’s commitment to producing world-class film and TV here in the UK.

"The new studios will enable us to deliver more original content to our customers while supporting the next generation of talent through skills and training.

"At this time when the world is focussed on COP26 and the urgent need to tackle the climate crisis, we are also proud of our ambition to build the world’s most sustainable film and TV studio.

"I’d like to thank Hertsmere Borough Council for their continued support, as well as NBCUniversal, L&G and BAM for their deep collaboration and partnership.”

The Elstree project is developed by Legal & General and constructed by BAM.

Nigel Wilson, CEO, Legal & General Group, said: “Sky Studios Elstree is a perfect example of our approach to supporting projects that deliver regional growth, create local value and invest in the skills, training and economy of tomorrow.

"The UK’s creative industries are world-leading and continue to grow at a rapid rate. We are proud to enable further growth in this area enabling the UK economy to build back better.”
Adam Harding, BAM's regional director for the South East, said: “This is a landmark development for BAM in the UK and we are proud that we’ve been able to hire dozens of people locally and kickstart the construction career of many new apprentices on Sky Studios Elstree.

"Alongside building at a rapid rate, we’ve also been meticulous in our approach to sustainability on site and throughout the construction process. We can’t wait to see the cameras rolling on new Sky and NBCU productions next year.”

Last month, Sky Studios Elstree announced that it had kicked off a recruitment drive for a range of new roles as it readies for opening early next year.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, Gangs of London and Brassic, bosses are doubling Sky's investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios.