Peaky Blinders' Steven Knight opens Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham, UK

The site will comprise three film studios, production offices and construction workshops; spanning 80,000 sq.ft of regenerated space in the Creative Quarter

By Priyanca Rajput 24 Mar 2023

Peaky Blinders' Steven Knight opens Digbeth Loc. Studios in Birmingham, UK
Steven Knight and Cllr Jayne Francis. Credit: Birmingham City Council

Construction on Digbeth Loc. Studios is underway in central Birmingham — a new venture established by British screenwriter, director and producer Steven Knight and his business partner, TIME+SPACE CEO Piers Read. 

Work on the site started on Tuesday 21 April, with completion expected by 15th July, ready for occupation. The first filming onsite will take place in October, as the studio officially becomes open for business from next week (27 March).

The £1.3m investment by Birmingham City Council, together with landowner Homes England and with support from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), aims to mobilise the region’s £4bn Creative Economy, offering a flagship focal point to draw and inspire both local and international screen-industries talent. It is anticipated the studios will contribute more than £30m to the local economy, creating 760 local jobs.

It also marks the first first major television and film production facility of this scale to ever be developed in Birmingham with the goal to create a long-term cultural legacy for Birmingham by welcoming major blue-chip brands to the multimedia headquarters.

One of the early projects pinned to the Studios include: the BBC drama This Town (made by Kudos, a Banijay UK company) – telling the story of the West Midlands’ ground-breaking ska and two-tone heritage – and the world’s most successful food format, MasterChef, produced by Shine TV, also part of Banijay UK.

An area of the new studios is also expected to be occupied by iconic Birmingham reggae band UB40, making it a wide-ranging, multimedia West Midlands home for upcoming and existing creative and cultural talent.

Knight’s project follows the huge international success of BBC's Peaky Blinders, which galvanised the city's fame on a global scale. It has also spawned a two-day festival, a nationwide dance theatre tour, an immersive show, escape rooms, a VR game ‘Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom’ and an official IPA.

Speaking about the development, Knight said: “Our plans are ambitious and we will be making TV and movies on an international scale. 

“We are planting an industry in the fertile soil of Birmingham and we need local people to make it happen. We have structures in place to begin the business of training local people in the skills needed and we want people to know that this is a viable industry that is here to stay.

“We’re setting up in the heart of, what was once, Peaky Blinders country and it’s very fitting that we are bringing it all back home.”

The development will see disused, old Victorian era buildings converted into a modern, state-of-the-art studio complex, comprising three film studios, production offices and construction workshops; spanning 80,000 sq.ft of regenerated space in Birmingham’s Creative Quarter, Digbeth. Located within seven-minutes walking distance of Birmingham’s train stations – including the planned HS2 terminal – the site sits within the Warwick Bar Conservation Area and will conserve the unique characteristics and heritage of Birmingham’s canalside buildings.

The site will be managed by Digbeth Loc. Studios Ltd, a partnership between Knight and Read. The initial funding will unlock further investment and the wider development plans required to bring the full studio complex forward.

Digbeth Loc. Studios is envisioned to play a catalytic role in the wider, regeneration-led reimagining of Digbeth. A range of public and private partners - including Stanhope PLC and Brydell Partners – will spend the next 12 months exploring how the area’s disused brownfield land could be transformed into a major economic and cultural centre.

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