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The story of your Boxing Day boxset: record tax relief for big budget TV

Since tax relief for big budget TV shows came into effect in 2013, shows such as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey have been able to claim.

Santa watching TV

The Chancellor today (Saturday 26 December) welcomed record support for UK made TV productions as he announced the success of the government’s first two years of High-End TV tax relief.

Doubling the previous year’s total, new statistics published by the government show that 50 new television productions in the UK were supported by High-End TV tax relief in 2014 to 2015.

Since the relief was introduced in 2013 the government has contributed a total of nearly £92 million to 90 British big-budget television programmes.

Over £820 million has been invested into Britain’s creative economy since 2013 by high-end TV production companies that could qualify for the relief.

To ensure the UK remains competitive on the world stage for TV production, in 2013 the government began providing the same support it offers film production to high-end TV.

Since then many of the nation’s favourite big budget TV shows, such as Game of Thrones, Outlander and Downton Abbey have been able to claim tax relief.

Chancellor George Osborne said:

The UK is the world leader in producing high quality, original television content. As many of us settle in for some television this Boxing Day, I’m delighted that many of the programmes we watch will be made in Britain.

Through our tax relief the government has been able to support the TV industry meaning record investment and a booming creative sector jobs market across the country.

With many British shows being nominated for international awards and more commissioned, the future of British television is bright this Christmas.

The UK television industry is one of the global leaders for on-screen talent, screenwriting, crew and infrastructure and location filming.

In addition, original UK programme formats including The Office, Shameless and Being Human have been exported, remade and broadcast in other countries.

This year the UK’s top three exported boxsets to China were Sherlock, Downtown Abbey and Black Mirror, whilst Game of Thrones, Da Vinci’s Demons and Outlander had major economic impacts in their regional filming locations.

To qualify for High-End TV Tax relief a production must:

  • pass the cultural test
  • be a drama, comedy or documentary
  • have at least 25% of the total production costs relating to activities in the UK
  • spend more than £1 million on production costs per hour
  • be longer than 30 minutes

History of the Boxset

Late 90s - The golden age of US drama – The Sopranos (1999), The Wire (2002), West Wing (1999)

Mid 00s -The American Boxset imports, because shows were not widely available in the UK, Breaking Bad (2008) Mad Men (2007)

2010s – Rise of British international success – Sherlock (2010), Downtown Abbey (2010), Black Mirror (2011)

2011 - Game of Thrones Season 1 begins

2012 - High-End TV Relief announced

2013 – High-End TV tax relief begins 1 April

2014 – Scotland saw a record £45.2 million spent on production

2015 - Game of Thrones Season 6 shoot in Northern Ireland

2015 - Outlander Season 2 begins filming in Scotland through inward investment

2015 - Amazon Prime’s first UK original drama, an eight-part series produced by Lookout Point called The Collection, to be made in Wales and France with BBC Worldwide and Pinewood Pictures. Netflix recently acquired Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror for a 3rd Season

2015 - British Production Company, Bad Wolf, established by former BBC execs Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, partner with HBO and announce TV adaptation of His Dark Materials, a co-production with New Line Cinema to shoot in Wales

Published 26 December 2015