New Film Studios in England

Just about 70 years on from when the legendary Denham Film Studios were closed and later demolished, we learn of a renaissance because NEW film studios are to be built at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

Sunset Studios the Hollywood studio facility that were behind such hits as “La La Land” and “When Harry Met Sally,” looks to be heading for Hertfordshire

Hudson Pacific Properties, who own Sunset Studios, have partnered with private equity firm Blackstone Group to create a film, TV and digital production facility in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.

It will be Hudson Pacific’s first international expansion. Together with Blackstone, they own 35 sound stages and on-site creative offices in the U.S.

The 91-acre site, which cost £120 million is less than an hour’s drive from Central London, and nearby Leavesden studios, where the “Harry Potter” and “Batman” franchises have been filmed.

Leavesden first came into use for ‘Goldeneye’ in 1995 – it was a former Rolls Royce Factory with its own runway at that time – in fact in that film the opening sequence set at the nerve gas establishment at Archangel in Northern Russia was mainly filmed on the runway.

I visited Leavesden around 1995 while the Bond film was in production and had a good long tour round it – it had huge amounts of space much as Denham had years before.

The sites will be about 15 miles apart.

Denham Film Studios

Denham Film Studios
The Denham Studio ‘Tank’ later changed to a Car Park

On Feb. 24th 1952 the last chapter in the story of Denham Film Studios was written when the final contents were sold by auction. It was in 1936 that Sir Alexander Korda opened the studios which were the largest in Britain, the first to be built here on Hollywood lines – and one of the largest if not THE largest in the world then

Denham was aimed at making British films of international importance and it drew to the studios world famous stars and directors.

Famous films made there included The Ghost Goes West ” and ”Rembrandt”. At one time the studio had 15 features on the floor. The last complete film made at the studio was Walt Disney’s ”The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Man” in 1951 – and released almost at the time of this closure.

Before that Walt Disney had produced his very first ‘live-action’ film there ‘Treasure Island’ with Robert Newton. The Deham Lake was used for the ‘landing on the island’ sequence

Since then it has been gradually dying, only being used for a few ”bits and pieces”, and for music recordings.

It should never have closed – and if it could have stayed around for another decade I am convinced that it would have been successful again.

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