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Bovingdon Airfield Studios unveils its masterplan vision

Jun 2, 2023

Bovingdon Airfield Studios is proud to present its masterplan for the further development of its studio, building upon its 20 year history as a blank canvas as a film location.

The independently-owned film and TV production complex, on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border, in close proximity to Pinewood and Leavesden Studios, has presented its multi-million pound masterplan to local authority planners.

The business operates on more than 100 acres of airfield owned by WJ&M Mash, a Chesham, Bucks-based farming business that dates back to Victorian times.

In the centre of the computer-generated image (pictured) is an iconic Second World War Control tower that the site owners plan to rebuild within the next few years. The vision is for the control tower to  be surrounded by an office accommodation hub for productions to base themselves from.  The central control tower and airfield runways have featured in a number of 1960s war films.

“Within our masterplan vision we would like to evolve the site to become a complex with a total of 240,000 square feet of sound stages, 200,000 sq ft of production offices, 100,000 sq ft of workshops and 60 acres of multi-surface backlots,” Bovingdon Airfield Studios managing director Harvey Mash told Cinematography World.

“Our site has been designed with sustainability and user friendliness being at the centre of our design brief.”

The site currently comprises three permanent sound stages, three temporary stages, production workshops and extensive multi-surface backlots.

Further developments will include installing green roofs, solar power,  and additional tree planting. In the past few months alone  1,500 mixed species trees have been planted on 12 ft high earth bunds that surround the development reinforcing the existing treelines to create a green network encompassing the development. An active trail runs through the green perimeter and provides opportunities for fitness and relaxation. 

Bovingdon Airfield Studios has been home to multiple production companies with recent credits including Bohemian Rhapsody, Star Wars Rogue One and 1917 – Sam Mendes’ multi-Academy, Golden Globe and Bafta award-winning war drama.

Other recent productions soon to be released include Masters Of The Air, the spy thriller Argyle , Flash and See How They Run. 

For the past sixteen months, BAS has been hosting a major drama production for Amazon Studios, “it’s the largest project we have had to date with an estimated budget of £500 million per series,” said Harvey. 

A unique facility in London’s backyard

Unique to Bovingdon Airfield Studios is the diverse mix of space. In addition to its sound stages, workshops and plentiful parking areas, the complex offers a large area of grass (used to brilliant effect to construct Second World War trenches for the award-winning film 1917), and multiple hard-standing backlots. BAS offers three concrete runways totalling 190,000 sq ft, a further hard surface backlot area of 36,000 sq ft with an additional 42 acres of green-field space. All in all, the studios offer one of the largest backlots in the London region.

ITV’s biggest UK sound stage

Since 2017,  Bovingdon Airfield Studios has also been home to ITV’s largest UK sound stage – the home of the hit production Dancing On Ice, and an ever-expanding list of premium prime-time entertainment series. The combination of extensive exterior space, privacy, accessibility, being just outside the M25 and less an hour from London, makes it the perfect choice for ITV.

The ITV sound stage is also used to produce The Masked Singer and The Masked Dancer, Starstruck, and Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel for The BBC. 

“The success of the site for location work and for ITV was the trigger for the diversification of our business interests and development of the full facility studio complex,” added Harvey. 

A little history.. filming at Bovingdon since World War II

The uniquely configured 100 acres of former war-time US Airforce Base 112 and RAF Bovingdon have been used for TV, film and commercial production facilities for many years, with some filming taking place some 15 years after the end of the Second World War with sequences for a number of war-time films requiring open countryside and vast amounts of runway space.

The land was requisitioned and taken over by the Government in 1940 before being offered back as farmland in the seventies. The land was, and remains, in ownership of the successful Mash farming family that has a rich heritage dating to late 18th century London and which expanded its fruit and vegetable growing to Chesham orchards when it purchased the first of many Buckinghamshire farms during Queen Victoria’s reign in 1896. Today WJ & M Mash farms over 1,300 acres of arable and breeds champion French Limousin cattle – one of the UK’s premier beef producing animals.

For 40 years the independent, family-owned airfield was home to one of the country’s largest outdoor markets. That era ended last autumn since when film and tv production has really taken off!

More details can be found at www.bovingdonairfieldstudios.com

For studio availability, please contact the studio at info@bovingdonairfieldstudios.com or +44 (0) 20 3327 0664

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