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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Elstree Studio's Future Is Now In Limbo

    Written by James MacGregor Friday, 19 May 2006



    Elstree Calling - now an uncertain futureThe future of Elstree Studios hangs in the balance after owner Hertsmere Borough Council admitted it has failed to find a suitable company to take over its management. Last night, the nation's media gathered at the studios in Borehamwood, for the launch of TV show Big Brother 7, But the night before, at a private meeting, the council said that none of the three companies in the race to run the studios next year was up to the job, despite a year of searching.



    The council now has to start the process from scratch with just ten months until the current management company's lease runs out. If no-one can be found to run the studios by next March, the council will find itself controlling the day-to-day activity at the studios from the Civic Offices, a situation one councillor described as ‘dangerous.'



    The council could choose instead to sell off the studios to a housing developer for tens of millions of pounds as suggested by its independent consultants earlier this month.



    Details about why the bids were turned down remain secret but are believed to centre on rent and investment in outdated studio buildings.



    Uncertainty over the future of the world-renowned studios was certain to be a talking point at the Cannes film festival this weekend.



    Filming for 1408, a film starring Samuel L Jackson and John Cusack, is in production until September, and that other big-budget movies are due to be made at Elstree.



    The studios employ a team of 20 staff, ranging from caterers to carpenters, who now face an anxious wait to find out if their jobs are safe.



    Meanwhile there are indications there are already other potential bidders interested in the site.



    "We've had some people who have indicated an interest in the studios who were not in the initial expressions of interest," a spokesman said.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    (DB7 @ May 20 2006, 12:52 PM)

    Elstree Studio's Future Is Now In Limbo

    Written by James MacGregor Friday, 19 May 2006

    Elstree Calling - now an uncertain futureThe future of Elstree Studios hangs in the balance after owner Hertsmere Borough Council admitted it has failed to find a suitable company to take over its management...
    "The British Hollywood" Elstree, along with MGM/Elstree-Borehamwood, and the film community that grew up around the studios, make the mind dizzy with their film history. I hope the grand old studios aren't turned into a housing development and parking lots, which have no echoes except trails of leaked oil.



    Best,



    Barbara

  3. #3
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (theuofc @ May 22 2006, 09:58 PM) v

    "The British Hollywood" Elstree, along with MGM/Elstree-Borehamwood, and the film community that grew up around the studios, make the mind dizzy with their film history.v I hope the grand old studios aren't turned into a housing development and parking lots, which have no echoes except trails of leaked oil.



    Best,



    Barbara
    I can just imagine a new housing development - with roads named after famous films that nobody living there will have heard of or care about.

    Ugh



    Steve

  4. #4
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Well it wouldn't work on an Elstree estate with Ealing titles

    What about Confessions of a Window Cleaner Close, The Devil Rides Out Drive, Gangster No. 1 Grove, Percy's Progress Parade, The Railway Children Road?



    Steve

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    Senior Member Country: UK Merton Park's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, half of it was turned into a Tesco years ago, and even before that, MGM studios became an industrial estate just up the road.



    I remember as a child being driven past MGM and straining to see the outdoor sets. Made some great films there as well, Where Eagles Dare and The Dirty Dozen being among the last. They always seemed to have that extra touch of quality the way they looked on screen.



    Bloody shame!

  6. #6
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    (Merton Park @ May 23 2006, 07:49 AM)

    Unfortunately, half of it was turned into a Tesco years ago, and even before that, MGM studios became an industrial estate just up the road.



    I remember as a child being driven past MGM and straining to see the outdoor sets. Made some great films there as well, Where Eagles Dare and The Dirty Dozen being among the last. They always seemed to have that extra touch of quality the way they looked on screen.



    Bloody shame!
    At least Merton Park Studios are still remembered in the area. One of the tram stations is named Merton Park. Although it's actually some way away from where the old studios were.



    Steve

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    (Merton Park @ May 23 2006, 06:49 AM)

    Unfortunately, half of it was turned into a Tesco years ago, and even before that, MGM studios became an industrial estate just up the road.



    I remember as a child being driven past MGM and straining to see the outdoor sets. Made some great films there as well, Where Eagles Dare and The Dirty Dozen being among the last. They always seemed to have that extra touch of quality the way they looked on screen.



    Bloody shame!
    I so agree. It grieves me to contemplate it. Hitchcock made "Blackmail" for BIP there, and wasn't Michael Powell a stills photographer at BIP in the early 30s? Patricia Warren's "British Film Studios" has a long and fascinating section on the history of Elstree. Here is what she says of MGM/Borehamwood, "The once proud MGM British Studio, which has made such a splendid contribution to the industry, was allowed to deteriorate and fall into disuse. It was subsequently sold and became host to a cold storage company."



    Given Warren's account of Hertsmere Borough Council's long fight in the 90s with one company which bought and then wanted to sell the lot for development instead of meeting its agreement to keep it for film purposes for 25 years, the Council seems to have a history of trying to keep the studio property for film and not development. Good luck to them!



    Barbara

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    (Steve Crook @ May 23 2006, 06:59 AM)

    Well it wouldn't work on an Elstree estate with Ealing titles bv

    What about Confessions of a Window Cleaner Close, The Devil Rides Out Drive, Gangster No. 1 Grove, Percy's Progress Parade, The Railway Children Road?



    Steve
    They might not even bother, as the old MGM estate up the road is populated with film name streets IIRC.



    Hertsmere Council did a pretty good job of running the site in its first 'limbo' stage - I don't see why they can't do the same again. LUCASFILM should put a manager in ; they can afford it, and isn't there the main George Lucas stage there these days ?



    I was there in 91 for the demolition of the original blocks ; that was terrible. I subsequently got 'security-ed' by some Tesco wimp for taking the 'after' photos....



    I'd hate to see the whole thing disappear.



    SMUDGE

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: United States theuofc's Avatar
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    http://www.thisishertfordshire.co.uk/displ...rs_damaging.php



    26 May 2006



    Studios sell off rumours ‘damaging’



    By Emma Hutchings



    The councillor responsible for Elstree Studios this week dismissed speculation about the council selling off its biggest asset as premature and damaging'.



    Hertsmere's portfolio holder for property, Councillor John Graham, admitted that the option of selling the site off for housing could not be ignored but said it was only a last resort.



    Mr Graham is optimistic that another bidder will be found to run the studios before next March, when the current management company's lease expires, despite last week rejecting all offers after a year-long bidding process.



    "As we move forward we will keep people including residents and businesses appraised of the progress," he said.



    "In this way, we can all be confident and in no doubt that the studios is, and will remain, safe and not the object of pointless and undermining rumours about its future, which only serve to damage rather than help it."



    The council-owned film studios in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, attracts £16 million a year to the town and nets £800,000 in rent. But selling the land could fetch more than £30m. Mr Graham said he could not rule out this option, recommended by consultants Robson Rhodes, as it would breach his duty to protect council finances.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Bidding restarts for ‘town’s greatest asset’

    By Louisa Barnett



    The bidding for Elstree Studios was re-opened this week as council bosses agreed to put the town's greatest asset' back out to tender as the process of finding new investment starts afresh.



    After a year-long search to find an acceptable bidder ended in failure in May, the studios in Shenley Road, Borehamwood, has been put back on the market.



    Hertsmere Borough Council is confident it will succeed in securing the studios' long-term future second-time around.

    continued...



    The council-owned studios is currently run by management company Elstree Film and Television Studios Ltd (EFTVS), but when its contract runs out on March 31 next year, the council wants a wealthy company or consortium to take over on a long lease and rejuvenate the studios.



    Speaking at the council's executive meeting on Wednesday, Councillor John Graham, portfolio holder for property and finance, said: "We've learnt from our mistakes.



    "Since the last round of bidding fell through, we've spoken to a lot of people to find out how we can do it better this time around."



    The council met with the UK film comissioner and the UK Film Council who said putting studios out to tender last October, as the council did, was the worst possible time to do so as it is a quiet period in the industry.



    They were advised that the last bidding process coincided with a period in which investment in the UK film industry fell by 60 per cent and reached an all-time low.



    Precise details about why the bids were turned down last time remain secret but are believed to centre on demands for the amount of rent and investment in outdated studio buildings.



    It is likely that the council is seeking £1 million a year in rent plus a significant cash injection in infrastructure from investors.



    Mr Graham continued: "There's a lot more in our favour this time and the opportunities for succeeding are far greater so we must be strong in what we're trying to do."



    Instead of the previous two-stage tendering process, this time, there will just be one stage, with a deadline for bidders of October 16.



    Unlike last time, bidders will also be able to download the tender pack straight from the council's web site.



    Marketing costs for the process are expected to be around £45,000.



    Hertsmere Labour Group leader Councillor Leon Reefe said he had his doubts the process would be successful.



    "My concern is for the long-term future of the studios. I'm yet to be convinced that this package is going to be a product that rouses interest and gets results."



    If no firm can be found to run the studios by next March, the council will find itself controlling the day-to-day activity at the studios from the Civic Offices.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Country: England harryfielder's Avatar
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    I have great memories of Elstree and MGM over the last 40 years.



    Aitch,

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Former 007 fights to save Elstree studios





    Staff and agencies

    Thursday November 16, 2006

    Guardian Unlimited



    Elstree Film Studios

    Part of British film history... Elstree film studios. Photograph: Graham Turner



    While Daniel Craig battles international terrorists at Casino Royale, former Bond Roger Moore is embarking on a rather more modest mission. The 79-year-old actor has thrown his weight behind a plan to save a part of British cinema history, calling for a wealthy backer to bail out troubled Elstree film studios.



    Elstree, located in Borehamwood, just outside London, was bought by Hertsmere Borough Council in 1996, but now needs a major cash injection to stay afloat.



    Article continues

    "Hertsmere Council extended it a lifeline when it needed it most, and invested heavily," Moore said. "Now that they are seeking to pass on the ownership, I hope that an equally passionate and caring owner can be found; and help take the studio into one of the most exciting periods of film and new media production."



    In its 80-year history, Elstree has played host to such directors as Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, and such iconic films as Goodbye, Mr Chips, Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Before donning the Bond tuxedo, Moore shot 118 episodes of The Saint at Elstree.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: Scotland julian_craster's Avatar
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    The Saint shows devotion for Elstree with plea for rescuer

    By Saeed Shah



    The Independent

    Published: 15 November 2006



    For 80 years they played host to Hollywood's biggest stars, producing a string of big and small-screen classics from a leafy corner of north London.

    Now Elstree Film Studios are up for sale - but in need of a major cash injection to help them to recapture their glory days.

    Yesterday, the actor Sir Roger Moore, who filmed 118 episodes of The Saint at the studios in the 1960s, made a plea for a sympathetic buyer for what he described as "an important part of the British film and TV industry".

    The studios, whose hits include Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail, The Dambusters, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and Star Wars, were put up for sale by Hertsmere Borough Council, which bought them in 1996. According to the council, a serious injection of cash is needed to keep the studios going in the long-term.

    Sir Roger said: "Hertsmere Council extended it a lifeline when it needed it most, and invested heavily. Now that they are seeking to pass on the ownership, I hope that an equally passionate and caring owner can be found; and help take the studio into one of the most exciting periods of film and new media production."

    By the time Hertsmere council got Elstree, had passed through many owners, including Warner Brothers, EMI and Brent Walker, although the studios remained in demand, hosting the making of television shows including The Avengers, Last of the Summer Wine, The Fast Show, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Hertsmere has put in £12m but the council said that it recognised that if the studios were to survive as a major film and television facility, "significant [further] investment may be required".

    Potential buyers include a group of businessmen led by the young entrepreneur and developer Madush Gupta, who want to put £20m into the site and create a major film school alongside working studios. Central St Martins, the leading art school, would be invited to run its film classes from there.

    According to Mr Gupta, working through a company called Elstree NewCo, his team are just the sort of owners that Sir Roger would want. "The place is alive with stories and storytellers and should stay that way for future generations," he said.

    Hertsmere council's executive will meet tomorrow, where it should reduce the six shortlisted bidders - which include Elstree NewCo - down to the final two.

    Mr Gupta, 33, said: "Our scheme resurrects the studio of the past. The very substantial investment that is required has not happened."

    His company said that Central St Martins is "very interested" to putting its film courses at Elstree but, as he has not yet secured the site, they cannot be signed up. The film school at the University of California at Los Angeles has also been sounded out. NewCo would also put a conferencing facility and a "digital village" on the site, as well as accommodation for the students at the film school.

    The British film industry has been hard hit by the removal of tax breaks last year, putting a question-mark over the future of movie-making in the UK. Mr Gupta said that Elstree needed to expand to attract larger-budget films and he would add two sound stages to the existing eight. "There are low-key plans on offer from everybody else. We offer a very vibrant, creative, future for the studios," he said.

    He also believes that the studios, set just north of London, must be saved from other potential buyers who would not invest in the film facilities or who simply want to put an industrial estate or housing on the site.

    While the council has stated that it will only consider bids from those that want film and television to continue to be made at Elstree, it is understood that some of the potential buyers have asked Hertsmere to lift this condition.

    For 80 years they played host to Hollywood's biggest stars, producing a string of big and small-screen classics from a leafy corner of north London.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: England harryfielder's Avatar
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    Been reading this for a few weeks by Paul Burton,,, There's 26 to come in all.



    Click here: Borehamwood Times: Features: Elstree Film Studios



    Aitch,

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Country: Fiji
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    I thought Paul was planning on putting this out as a book...?



    I hope he still intends to.



    Smudge

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    Its a strange place elstree studios from the outside the only place i have seen it ,a collection of buildings that must have been build at different times to different designs.But i would suppose it is the home of british cinema and thankfully it survived the property developers ,unlke the place to the side which houses the tesco supermarket

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    Senior Member Country: UK Merton Park's Avatar
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    The site that Tesco is built on used to be part of the ABPC Studios.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: UK Merton Park's Avatar
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    Another good link to the same person's website about Elstree.



    Elstree Calling | Elstree Film Studios - Past, Present & Future

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: England harryfielder's Avatar
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    name='Merton Park']The site that Tesco is built on used to be part of the ABPC Studios.


    I remember working there in the 60s 70s 80s and 90s where to the front of the studios were the offices and behind them were studios 1-5 and behind them was the back lot including a lake.



    Now you can get milk and bread...?????



    Aitch,

  20. #20
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    I live a a few miles away and don't get to boreham wood very often but i get a buzz everytime i pass the studios

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