Winning name announced for Elstree Studios’ new stages

25 Nov 2021

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A name for Elstree Studios’ landmark new soundstages has been chosen after more than 400 suggestions were submitted by residents and film and television fans nationwide.


Entries inspired by icons of the silver screen and leading lights in the TV and film industry, as well as those honouring local heroes and based on filmic references to screen classics such as Star Wars, Big Brother and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, all produced on-site, were submitted during a two-week public competition run by Elstree Studios, in partnership with Hertsmere Borough Council.


The winning entry, PLATINUM STAGES was submitted by Matt Payne, aged 43, of London and chosen by the Board of Directors of Elstree Studios and the Mayor of Hertsmere, Councillor Anne Swerling.


Matt will receive two VIP passes to the launch of the new soundstages next spring, a tour of the studios and lunch at the on-site Rushes restaurant. He will also receive an Elstree Studios hoodie, goodie bag and range of merchandise.


Councillor Morris Bright MBE, Leader of the council and chairman of the Elstree Studios board, said:

“We had some really quite imaginative and very note-worthy suggestions.

“Among those shortlisted were The Skywalker Stages, Kubrick’s Overlook Stages, The Paul Welsh Stages in honour of one of our foremost studio champions, and The Centenary Stages, in recognition of the studios’ near 100-year history.

“The reason the board and Mayor of Hertsmere chose Platinum is because it works on so many levels. Obviously, platinum has connotations of high value and exclusivity – which aligns perfectly with the cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art specifications of this facility.

“But it’s also appropriate because the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is taking place next year, just when these new soundstages will be opening. This auspicious occasion will be a moment for the whole nation to come together and celebrate all that has been and all that is to come for the country.

“Locally, it makes absolute sense to use the new soundstages to pay tribute to our monarch and the many years of her reign, while looking to the future for TV and film production in Hertsmere that this new addition to our studios represents.”


Cllr Anne Swerling, said:

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit their entry to our competition. We were delighted with and quite overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries received. It really is testimony to the genuine public affection out there for Elstree Studios and Hertsmere.

“We really feel that Platinum Stages embodies the borough’s prestigious film and television connections, while also pointing to the exciting possibilities of its future. It’s also a wonderful way to celebrate our Queen and her many years of service to our country.”


Work to build two new soundstages and ancillary workshops began earlier this year and is set to finish in spring next year.


The state-of-the-art facility will sit next to The George Lucas stages on the site of the former Big Brother house, which 50 years before that also served as the site for an outdoor effects tank for the film, Moby Dick.


Once operational, the facility will create at least 800 new jobs, plus apprenticeship and other learning opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed.


The £15.6 million project has been part-funded by Hertsmere Borough Council and the government’s Getting Building Fund via the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.


As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income received by the council will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives.

Win a chance to be part of film and television history: Competition

06 Oct 2021

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Elstree Studios new stages © Elstree Studios

Members of the public are being invited to come up with a name for Elstree Studios’ new soundstages, and to be in with a chance to win VIP passes to next year’s opening of the landmark state-of-the-art facility.

Elstree Studios, in partnership with Hertsmere Borough Council, are inviting local residents or anyone with a love or interest in film and television, to name the latest addition to the region’s number one TV and Film production centre. The person who submits the winning entry will receive two VIP Passes to the launch of the new soundstages next spring with a tour of the studios and lunch at the on-site Rushes Bar. They will also receive an Elstree Studios hoodie, goodie bag and range of merchandise.

Entries must be submitted via an online form, [link] no later than 5pm on Friday 22 October. Entries will be considered by the Elstree Studios’ Board of Directors and the Mayor of Hertsmere, Councillor Anne Swerling, later this month. The winning suggestion will be announced once the name has been confirmed.

Councillor Morris Bright MBE, Leader of the Council and Chairman of the Elstree Studios Board, said: “Elstree Studios has been the beating heart of our borough for almost 100 years and as a council-owned site, it is literally one that every resident in Hertsmere has a stake in.

“This development of two new soundstages and ancillary workshops will open up a world of opportunities for the studios, for our residents and local businesses and for all who work in or are connected to television and film production.

“We need a name for the state-of-the-art facility that reflects the prestigious status of the studios in TV and film history, and the new and exciting possibilities ahead – something that is both forward-thinking and a nod to our borough’s glorious screen past.

“This is a chance to be part of history and leave your mark on a facility that will be in operation for generations to come.”

Mayor of Hertsmere, Cllr Anne Swerling, said: “It’s only right that the people who live, work and visit Hertsmere, should get the chance to be part of this milestone in the studios’ and our borough’s history, by giving the new soundstages a name.

“The modern and environmentally sustainable development will sit next to The George Lucas stages on the site of the former Big Brother house, which 50 years before that also served as the site for an outdoor effects tank for the film, Moby Dick. 

“Any name for the soundstages should aptly reflect the borough’s proud film and television connections, and its future. We’re really looking forward to seeing your suggestions.”

Work to build two new soundstages and ancillary workshops began earlier this year and is set to finish in late spring next year.

Once operational, the facility will create at least 800 new jobs, plus apprenticeship and other learning opportunities.

The £15.6million project has been part-funded by Hertsmere Borough Council and the government’s Getting Building Fund via the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income received by the council will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives.

Celebrating Lucasfilm’s 50th Anniversary: A Stormtrooper Parade at Elstree Studios

17 Aug 2021

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Stormtrooper Parade at Elstree Studios

This year American production company, Lucasfilm, celebrates its 50th Anniversary having been founded by visionary filmmaker, George Lucas, in 1971. Lucasfilm is home to some of the world’s favourite film franchises including Star Wars and Indiana Jones as well as other popular films and television shows.

The first three Star Wars films (Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) as well as the first three Indiana Jones films (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade) were all filmed at Elstree Studios including films Willow and Labyrinth. George Lucas’ successful time at Elstree Studios in the 1980s, as well as his support for the ‘Save Our Studios’  Campaign in the 1990s, lead to the naming of the ‘George Lucas Stages 1 & 2’, which were opened by HRH Prince Charles in 1999.

This weekend, Elstree Studios partnered with the UK Garrison, a division of the 501st Legion which is an all-volunteer organisation bringing together Star Wars costume enthusiasts, to host a flag parade in celebration of the 50th Anniversary. ‘Darth Vader’, ‘Krennic’ and over 20 Stormtroopers in various costume varieties were “welcomed” to the Elstree Studios Lot by Managing Director of Elstree Studios, Roger Morris, who – as a Jedi Knight – ensured that they were kept in order.

The Star Wars flag parade was livestreamed to raise money for Lucasfilm’s chosen charity, FIRST. FIRST aims to engage young people in STEM Education and to encourage the next generation of Science and Technology innovators in over 100 countries around the world.

Roger Morris said: “Elstree Studios is proud to have been the original home of Star Wars – such an important part of our legacy. We welcome this initiative to support education by Lucasfilm and the Star Wars support groups such as 501st Legion. We hope to do more work with them to raise the profile of the charitable work they do.”

The video link is available here:

Donations can be made to FIRST here:


Elstree Studios expansion gets under way

24 May 2021

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Pictured at the building site of the new soundstages are, from left to right, Roger Morris, David Conway, Oliver Dowden, Kevin Church, senior project manager of R. G. Carter, and Cllr Bright MBE.

Hertsmere has taken one step closer towards cementing its reputation as the ‘British Hollywood’ as construction work on the expansion of Elstree Studios got under way this week.

Work to build two new soundstages and ancillary workshops on the site of the former Big Brother house has begun, after contractors R. G. Carter Construction were awarded the main contract for the £15.6 million project by studio owners Hertsmere Borough Council.  The two new soundstages, once operational, will create at least 800 new jobs, plus apprenticeship and other learning opportunities for local school leavers and the unemployed. As part of the deal, £100,000 per year from the rental income received by the council will be invested locally into creative industries, including local media and creative enterprise and initiatives.

Oliver Dowden CBE, MP for Hertsmere and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, council Leader Cllr Morris Bright MBE and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board member David Conway joined Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios to mark the occasion of the main construction work beginning. Enabling works has been underway at the site since earlier this year.

Elstree Studios’ Managing Director, Roger Morris, said: “This is the first new stage build on the Elstree Studios site in over 20 years. It will be there to satisfy client demand for stage space. The new stages will be built to a very high specification, similar to our successful George Lucas stages, and will benefit from the appropriate infrastructure already in place for the Film and TV industry at Elstree Studios. Once built, there will be 9 stages available for clients on site. The new stages are next door to the Elstree Studios backlot currently used by Netflix and Sony Left Bank Pictures’ ‘The Crown’, which is just about to begin filming series 5.”

Councillor Morris Bright MBE, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “This is a thrilling moment for Elstree Studios, its owners, Hertsmere Borough Council and all the partners involved in this project.

“The creation of these two new soundstages and ancillary workshops will result in at least 800 new jobs, plus 120 new learner and apprenticeship opportunities. It represents a huge boost for our local economy and ensures new and exciting opportunities ahead for our residents and businesses. Coupled with the creation of the multi-million pound Sky Studios Elstree down the road, this project reinforces Hertsmere’s status as the number-one home for film and TV production. It means that Hertsmere well and truly deserves to be known as ‘British Hollywood’, something we should all feel proud about.”

Councillors met on Wednesday (19 May) to approve the award of the contract. In addition, councillors agreed to an increase of £2.2 million for the build, mainly due to construction material price increases. Plans for a new electricity sub-station and enhanced acoustics at the site were also approved, bringing the total project cost to £15.6million.

The project has been part-funded by a £6 million Getting Building Fund investment from the government and Hertfordshire LEP.

Oliver Dowden MP said: “It is great to be here today marking the expansion of the Elstree Studios site, as work begins building two new sound stages and ancillary workshops.

“I am thrilled to support this project that will bolster Elstree’s status as the home of UK film and this country’s position as a creative industries superpower. This is a great example of our local council and this Government working together to strengthen our creative industries both here in Hertsmere and nationally. As the council has done its part to support the project, now the Government will deliver the extra £6 million in funding the project needs to get the show on the road.”

David Conway, Hertfordshire LEP Board member, said: “Our investment towards the expansion of Elstree Studios is a major vote of confidence in Hertfordshire’s thriving creative cluster and will not only boost the studio but also the vast network of businesses and multitude of jobs which supports its success.

“It is crucial that we continue to prioritise the development of Hertfordshire’s key growth sectors, particularly those that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, to strengthen the county’s economic bedrock and provide high quality employment opportunities for local residents. Through our £16.8m Getting Building Fund allocation, we are supporting five key projects to boost the county’s high value sector clusters including film and TV, life sciences and smart construction. Collectively, the projects are set to unlock 12,100 sq. m. of commercial space and bring forth up to 1,500 new jobs to accelerate local economic recovery.”


Paul Hutchinson, Director at R G Carter says: “We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver this exciting specialist facility that will not only benefit the growing creative sector, but also provide the local community with fantastic opportunities. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Hertsmere Borough Council and Elstree Studios and supporting their ambitious plans within the British film and TV industry.”

The £900m Getting Building Fund was announced in August 2020 to deliver jobs, skills and infrastructure across the country. It supports the delivery of shovel-ready infrastructure projects, selected by Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Combined Authorities and endorsed by the Housing Secretary, to fuel local recovery and kickstart economic growth amidst the pandemic.

Production resumes at Elstree Studios

01 Jun 2020

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COVID-19 measures on site at Elstree Studios

Elstree Studios undertakes its first production on June 2nd since the lockdown in March. Although Elstree Studios did not close during the lockdown, access was restricted to those working on site and Studio administrative staff worked from home.

Strict protective measures have been put in place for those returning to work on the Elstree Studios site. These include the wearing of masks or face coverings, social distancing and temperature checking by a paramedic at the front gate entrance.

Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios, said: “We intend to keep Elstree Studios a safe working environment for all our clients and tenants, it is important to get our industry back to work, but safely. Many employed in the film and tv industry are freelance and they have been hit particularly badly and unfortunately the financial support arrangements provided for them by the Government are hard for many of them to obtain.”

Our Creative Industries are a powerhouse for the UK economy, providing the UK with over £100 billion last year and many thousands of jobs.

We recommend that all our production clients implement the directives circulated by the BFC, BFI, BECTU and the Production Guild regarding COVID-19.

Back to the Studios on site Guidelines

29 May 2020

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At Elstree Studios, safety is our primary concern during this outbreak of COVID-19. If entering the site, you must adhere to the following guidelines to protect the safety of yourself and others. Government guidelines must be adhered to in any event. Full Guidelines and Site Plans here:

Elstree Studios COVID-19 Site Safety Booklet 2021



– Security must be notified in advance of access and client crew and cast lists must be provided.

– For Pedestrians: there is an intercom and lock at the front gate and at the Gatehouse. Passes must be shown to Security at the Gatehouse window and Security can be spoken to via the intercom.

– For Drivers: the ANPR system will allow access for drivers with booked spaces but all passes and authorisation must be shown in advance of entering site. Drivers who exit their cars must wear a mask or face covering and adhere to social distancing measures.

– Security may deny access to pedestrians and cyclists who are not wearing masks or face coverings. Client crew and visitors must be aware before visiting Elstree Studios of the site guidelines herein contained.

– A Paramedic Security Guard will be working on site when required. They will have equipment and attend to anyone onsite taken potentially unwell.



– Please frequently wash you hands.

– Hand-sanitising stations are placed across site

– Adhere to social distancing measures, keep 2 metres away from other people.

– Smokers must not smoke outside office buildings. The green area near the Powerhouse is to be zoned and used as a smoking area temporarily. A marked out area to the rear of site, near the backlot, can also be used for smoking.

– The Event Hall may be used for safe social distancing catering arrangements subject to discussions with Elstree Studios Management.

– The Whitehouse is the isolation point for any person deemed potentially unwell.

– Clients and tenants are responsible for the general health and safety of their own respective areas.

– EFS are not responsible for any health and safety breaches by a tenant or client.



– Masks or face coverings (and ideally gloves) are to be worn in communal areas at all times. Communal areas on site are roads, toilets, corridors and shared kitchens.

– If a client or tenant representative is found not wearing a mask in these areas, they will first receive a reminder and, if they repeatedly fail to adhere to site guidelines, may be asked to leave.



– All clients and tenants are restricted to their areas and are not permitted to wander freely on site.

– Clients are responsible for health and safety within their stages but must include within their risk assessment a section on measures taken for COVID-19. A copy of this must be given to Elstree Studios Management.

– If possible, all large meetings are to be held virtually. The Spielberg Suite is available to hire from Elstree Studios Management for meetings adhering to social distancing guidelines.

– All deliveries will be stored in a gazebo next to Security and must be collected by a client or tenant representative. Food deliveries must be collected by a client or tenant representative.

– Barriers on site will indicate restricted areas and zones.

– There will be no access to George Lucas Stage 2 via the Stage 1 door. The Stage 2 door must be used to access Stage 2. All visitors, cast and crew must be authorised and Security and Elstree Studios Management must be notified in advance.


Please contact Elstree Studios Management with any queries at:

Elstree Studios during World War II

06 May 2020

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Friday 8th May 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany of its armed forced in World War II. With this milestone, organisations around the world are remembering what part they played during the war time and whilst there was a general pause on the film industry, Elstree Studios continued to be of use.


Prior to the start of the War in 1939, it is estimated that over 200 films had been made at Elstree Studios; amongst these were Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn (1939), St Martin’s Lane (1938) and Mimi (1935). At the time, Elstree Studios was owned by British Film Producer and Businessman, John Maxwell, and Studio Manger, Joe Grossman, oversaw the site.


As a facility, the Government saw a purpose for the Elstree Studios site during the war years and it was subsequently requisitioned by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. The Corps had several uses for the studios but it was mainly used as a depot; the large open-space buildings on site provided useful storage for essential supplies: weapons, equipment and food. As the war continued, various devices that would go on to aid the war effort were secretly created inside the workshops at Elstree Studios.


In addition to storage, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps built a 550-seater Auditorium on the Elstree Studios site and named it the Garrison Theatre. The Garrison Theatre brought together troops who worked on site or who were based locally and kept them entertained. This played an important part on site in boosting the morale of the troops during the uncertain times of war.


At the end of the war, Elstree Studios did not re-open as a production facility until 1948. John Maxwell died in 1940 and his wife sold large shares to Warner Brothers who agreed to substantially rebuild the facility during 1946 and 1947. In September 1948, the town of Borehamwood saw the opening of a new Elstree Studios – named then the Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC).


This was followed by a boom in production at Elstree Studios with the release of some of the most famous post-war films. Box Office hit The Hasty Heart (1949) starring future US President Ronald Reagan, Alfred Hitchcock’s crime film Stage Fright (1950) and, of course, Michael Anderson’s The Dam Busters (1955) were all made at Elstree Studios in the following years.

Elstree Studios’ response to COVID-19

16 Mar 2020

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Elstree Studios are currently monitoring daily the Government instructions and guidelines concerning Health and Safety and the Coronavirus/ COVID-19.

However, the management of the Studios in any event have decided to stop the Elstree Studios stages being used with audiences and the Studios used for events.

Elstree Studios Management are determined to reduce the risks of contracting the virus at the Elstree Studios site by taking robust measures.

Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios, said: “whilst we are currently taking strict measures to safeguard the people working on site, we are fully aware that an outbreak at the Studios could at any time happen and this could mean that we close and quarantine the areas. A number of our clients have closed their offices on site for a number of weeks and we are taking advice daily.”

Elstree Studios Plan a Greener Future

30 Oct 2019

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Elstree Studios are reviewing their policies and procedures concerning their carbon footprint and endeavouring to improve their “green” credentials.


Already the Studios are supplied by “green energy” suppliers and waste collection, but now the studios are considering, solar energy for house lighting and exterior road lighting and attempting to encourage users to be efficient in their use of energy for productions and recycling.


Most recently the arrival of Universal Production services on the Elstree Site has meant that clients have access to the latest LED lighting equipment.


The Elstree Studios board has also seen changes that help this move towards a Green Studio with the appointment of among others, award winning Director and Chair of Directors UK, Steve Smith, who is a prominent member of the Albert initiative run by BAFTA. The Albert Initiative supports an environmentally sustainable future for the Production Industry.


Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios said, “the Board appointments made recently are to assist in decision making at Elstree Studios from Industry Experts. Currently we intend to build two more super Stages on the old Big Brother Site to accommodate demand for Feature Film, SVOD and Television.”


Currently Elstree Studios is the home to The Crown and Strictly Come Dancing plus many other top shows and dramas.

Elstree Studios to Build 2 New Stages

07 Sep 2019

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Elstree Studios to expand with new stages to be built on the former site used by the Big Brother house. Big Brother finished in early 2019. The site was the old water tank where classic films such as, Moby Dick and the Dam Busters were filmed.

Elstree Studios is planning to build two new super stages similar to the George Lucas stages which are popular with their film and television clients. The two new stages will be available in 2020. Planning applications have been submitted to Hertsmere Borough Council.

Roger Morris, Managing Director of Elstree Studios, says, ‘The building of the new stages is to fulfil client demand at Elstree Studios. We already have a number of clients who have confirmed interest in hiring the stages once they are built. Elstree Studios is currently home to Strictly Come Dancing, The Crown and BBC Studioworks. The Studios have enjoyed great success in the last ten years and the freeing up of the Big Brother space has opened up great opportunity. The stages will be suitable for both film and high-end television use. We have plans to build more stages at the Elstree Studios site as space becomes available.’

‘Save Our Studios’ – Elstree Studios Local Exhibition

21 Mar 2019

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A dedicated exhibition about an important part of Elstree Studios’ history is in its last month at Elstree and Borehamwood Museum. Closing on the 20th April 2019, visitors have one last chance to learn about an important campaign that began in 1988 – ‘Save Our Studios’.

Today Elstree Studios are an essential part of the UK’s Film and Television industry, and they have established themselves as the number one studios in London. However, in the late 1980s, the studios were at risk of closure and came close to being entirely lost.

The museum exhibition tells the exciting story of the eight-year fight to preserve the site and restore it to its former glory. Led by Paul Welsh, a dedicated team of volunteers began a campaign to save Elstree Studios from complete closure. It’s an inspiring story and the studios emerged victorious when they were finally bought by Hertsmere Council in 1996, and since then the studios have gone from strength to strength.

Featured in the museum are significant archived recordings from the campaign where you can watch Paul Welsh’s strong front to protect the studios and even newsreels featuring testimony from Steven Spielberg, director of many films made at Elstree Studios at the time including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The exhibition is entertaining and interactive for all ages; one exhibit gives you the opportunity to become an extra in Star Wars complete with costumes and lightsabers. Film fans can also enjoy other important memorabilia including a collection of original photos from the production of Star Wars, old film cameras, original props and costumes, and designs from Oscar nominated art director, Alan Tomkins.

For anyone seeking an excellent experience, the ‘Save Our Studios’ exhibition is a worthwhile trip. Such an important part of local history deserves to be celebrated, and without the courage of Paul Welsh and all the others to fight for Elstree Studios, they wouldn’t be thriving as they are now. Visit the museum to view the exhibition before it closes on the 20th April 2019.


You can find out more information about the exhibition on their website —

Written by Darcy Farrant

Big Brother: The End of an Era

07 Nov 2018

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After 18 amazing years, Big Brother will close its doors at Elstree Studios for the final time. Big Brother has had an extremely successful run as it is the longest running reality series in the UK to date. The first series of Big Br  other UK premiered on the 18th July 2000. The house relocated to Elstree Studios for Big Brother 3 in 2002, where the house has remained ever since.

Since the house relocated to Elstree Studios we have seen a total of 619 housemates pass through the famous Borehamwood bungalow, 42 Big Brother’s including 17 Classics and 21 Celebrities, 1 Celebrity Hijack, 1 Ultimate, 1 Panto and who could forget 1 Teen. Big Brother has been on air over 1,817 days to include the Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother series. Big Brother is always watching with 87 cameras and 110 microphones in the house to make sure not a moment of drama is missed.

A conservative estimate of viewers and live audience over the run at Elstree Studios is 2.5 billion with an age group from every age group. The first ever series at Elstree Studios was the most popular series reaching an average record rating of 5.8 million viewers with the season finale reaching an astonishing peak of 10 million viewers. The first winner at Elstree Studios was Kate Lawler after surviving 64 days in the house. The highest viewing figures for an eviction night were when the late Jade Goody was evicted in 2007.

Davina McCall was the original presenter for this iconic series for a total of 10 years. In 2011, Channel 5 acquired Big Brother where Brian Dowling, the winner of Big Brother 2 and the winner of the Ultimate Big Brother in 2010, was announced as the new Big Brother presenter. On 2 April 2013, it was confirmed that Dowling would be replaced by Emma Willis, who had previously presented Big Brother’s Bit on the Side. Emma has become a great success and is now a leading TV presenter as is Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, Rylan Clark-Neal.

On 14 September 2018, Channel 5 announced that the 19th series was to be its last on Channel 5. On November 5th, Cameron Cole was crowned the last winner of Big Brother UK.

Elstree Studio’s reputation for high quality television continues with top Light Entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing and its partnership with BBC Studioworks providing state of the art television technical facilities. Elstree is home to many other top productions such as, award-winning, The Crown, Pointless, The Chase, The Voice and many more.

We remain very proud of our television and film work here and continue to thrive as the UK’s No. 1 Film & Television Studio. Films include The Danish Girl, The King’s Speech, Paddington and many more.

Since the success of Big Brother it has been copied by many other reality shows.