No doubt he'll open up a 'Wimpey Bar' on the site.
Cherished' piece of film history lost as Twickenham Film Studios close
It has been at the heart of the film industry for nearly a century. But after playing host to productions from the gems of the silent era to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, Twickenham Film Studios is to close its doors.
Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady was also fine-tuned at Twickenham, where Phyllida Lloyd, the film’s director, completed her finishing touches in post-production and the studios’ old viewing theatre and wardrobe department were recently used for the film, My Week With Marilyn starring Michelle Williams
By Roya Nikkhah, Arts Correspondent
9:45AM GMT 19 Feb 2012
Administrators have been called in to the heavily indebted business and say there is no hope for it to continue in the film industry. Instead the south west London site is expected to be sold as a potentially lucrative property development.
Along with Pinewood and Shepperton studios, Twickenham, which was due to celebrate its centenary next year, is considered one of the most important filming locations in the country.
A string of celebrated directors have filmed on its three stages, including Lord Attenborough, Roman Polanski and Steven Spielberg, whose recent film adaptation of War Horse was partly filmed there.
Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady was also fine-tuned at Twickenham, where Phyllida Lloyd, the film’s director, completed her finishing touches in post-production and the studios’ old viewing theatre and wardrobe department were recently used for the film, My Week With Marilyn starring Michelle Williams.
Film and television production at the studios will be wound down in the coming months, before the site is sold.
Twickenham is believed to have struggled to keep pace with rising rents in the area, and to compete with larger studios like Pinewood in Buckinghamshire and 3 Mills in the East End, which have larger stages and more advanced technology.
Gerald Krasner, the administrator handling the unwinding of Twickenham Film Studios Ltd for the restructuring company Begbies Traynor, said: “Twickenham Studios has debts at the moment that it can’t pay, but if we sell the property, everyone will get paid in full.
“It has lost money for a few years now, and the shareholders have already put in substantial monies but they are not prepared to put any more money in. It will not be retained as a film studio, because there is no way of making it pay as a film studio.”
Mr Krasner confirmed that all 17 members of staff at the studios would be made redundant within the next six months. He declined to say how much debt the company owed, or to how many creditors.
The last accounts posted by Twickenham Film Studios Ltd for the year ended March 2011 showed that the company made a loss of more than £400,000.
Although last year saw record levels of overseas investment in British film production, with War Horse, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo all filmed here, profits from those blockbuster films are channelled back into the American studios and production companies behind them, like Disney, Warner Brothers and Paramount, and not British film studios, whose running costs and rent are often higher than fees they can command for hire rates.
Originally called St Margaret’s Studios and built on the site of a former ice-rink, Twickenham studios were established in 1913 by Dr Ralph Jupp, the founder of the London Film Company.
The same year, The House of Temperley, a silent film directed by Harold M. Shaw based on a novel by Arthur Conan Doyle, was the first film shot there.
The site was later bought by the British film producer, Julius Hagen, who renamed it the Twickenham Film Studios in 1929.
Among the bill of legendary productions filmed at the site are the Beatles’ films Help and A Hard Day’s Night, Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Alfie starring Michael Caine and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning directed by Karel Reisz.
The streets of 19th-century Paris were recently recreated at Twickenham for the filming of Bel Ami, based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant and starring Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Robert Pattinson which opens next month.
The film producer Stephen Woolley, who made Absolute Beginners starring David Bowie and Patsy Kensit and Little Voice with Jane Horrocks and Ewan McGregor at Twickenham, said he was “hugely saddened” to learn of its closure.
He said: “Twickenham is a cherished piece of our film history, and I grew up admiring films like A Hard Day’s Night knowing they had an intrinsic connection with that particular studio.
“But it is a sign of modern times and modern film-making, where so many more productions are either shot on location or in much bigger studios with more advanced technology.”
Joseph Bennett, an acclaimed film production designer who created the sets for Jude starring Kate Winslet at Twickenham, said that its closure was “a great shame”.
He said: “Working at Twickenham, you felt as if you were truly part of film history. It had an extraordinary atmosphere, so much more intimate than some of the larger, more corporate modern studios.”
The studios are owned by an overseas company, Shardub Enterprises, registered in the Dutch Antilles.
Its directors are Malek Akkad, an American film producer behind the Halloween horror films franchise, Bruce Grakal, an American lawyer, and Roger Sewell, an accountant.
None was available for comment.
Last edited by theuofc; 04-03-12 at 02:48 AM.
No doubt he'll open up a 'Wimpey Bar' on the site.
A ray of sunshine in the gloom.
I wonder who it is?
Been to most studios but never twickenham. With the 100th anniversary coming up perhaps part of the celebrations could include an open day?. I've been to other events at Pinewood and Bray which have been very well attended although maybe Twickenham is not as suited to such an event.