Downton Abbey film - how the Yorkshire production contributed to skills and training

The Yorkshire-backed upcoming Downton Abbey movie is among the film productions that have contributed more than £700,000 towards supporting skills and training in 2018/19, it has been announced.

Skills body ScreenSkills said a total of £703,483 from 72 productions - including Wonder Woman 1984, Horrible Histories and Maleficent 2 - funded the Film Trainee Finder trainee placement programme and training in shortage areas such as script supervisors, production accounts and grips.

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA Wire.

The Downton Abbey film was produced with the help of Screen Yorkshire and shot at locations including Harewood House in Leeds.

All training programmes have recruitment targets aimed at improving inclusion in the industry, alongside some training specifically commissioned to support groups that are currently under-represented.

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Gareth Ellis-Unwin, ScreenSkills' head of film and animation, said: "We all know the scale of challenges in the industry, including the need to diversify the workforce at a time when production is booming.

"So we are incredibly grateful to all those who do contribute to the Film Skills Fund.

"The amounts involved are modest, a small percentage of UK production spend, and so much more could be done if everyone paid in. We need the whole industry to help change happen.

"The skilled screen workforce is the bedrock of the UK's production success."

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Iain Smith, producer and chairman of the Film Skills Fund, said: "I urge my fellow producers to do the right thing in contributing to the Film Skills Fund.

"We all know that the skilled workforce - alongside the tax credits and studio space - are a hugely important part of what makes the UK one of the best places in the world to produce films.

"It is important that we all help to find and develop diverse talent."

Films that contribute can access the trainees supported by the Film Skills Fund on ScreenSkills flagship Trainee Finder placement programme.

Trainees in 2018/19 were recruited in areas of skills shortages. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of the successful candidates were women, 20 per cent were BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) and 60 per cent were based outside London.