News story

Tinsel, trees and tax – 2017 in British film and TV

A look at some of the best British film and TV of this year, and the scheme that helps put them on our screens.

Still of the bear Paddington from the film Paddington 2
© P&CO Ltd./SC2017

Most people will be watching the Queen in some capacity this Christmas.

The traditional amongst us will tune in dutifully at 3pm to Her Majesty’s Christmas message, full of turkey and fit to burst.

But thanks to tax reliefs in the creative sector, we can also enjoy Claire Foy’s seminal performance as a young Elizabeth Windsor in the award-winning Netflix series, The Crown.

Graphic of a crown with the caption "The Crown"

Tax probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind over the festive period. But when you’re settling down after lunch to binge on this:

Graphic of a doorway with "221B" on it with the caption "Sherlock"

Or this:

Graphic of the final image of the Game of Thrones opening titles sequence

Or even this:

Graphic of sword and shield below the Wonder Woman logo

It’s all been made possible thanks to a government scheme, which makes it cheaper to make a TV show or film that is culturally British (or European).

Whether you’re addicted to Shelby shenanigans or doctors and daleks, productions such as Peaky Blinders and Dr Who all benefit from government tax relief because they’re culturally British in some way – either through their content (hello 1920s, gangster-infested Birmingham), or because of how much of it is shot in this country.

It also includes the proportion of stars and crew who are from Britain.

We’re looking at you, McGregor:

Graphic with toilet with the caption "T2 Trainspotting"

And you to, Styles:

Graphic of a helmet with the caption "Dunkirk"

Tax and TV shows aside, pleasing everyone can be impossible, especially during the festive season, and especially after a few sherries.

But a firm favourite for the whole family has to be this year’s Paddington 2 – a perfect production for adults and children alike… and presumably with royal endorsement, after the famous bear danced a merry jig with the Duchess of Cambridge earlier this year.

Still from Paddington 2 showing Paddington bear surrounded by the rest of the cast
© P&CO Ltd./SC2017

So gather round the tree, don a paper hat, and raise a glass to the best of British cinema.

Published 23 December 2017