Caroline Norbury MBE in About

17/12/2014

CEO Caroline Norbury’s Review of 2014

What an exciting year it’s been, from tax breaks for the gaming industry, to blockbuster productions coming to film here in the UK; it’s heartening to see an increasing recognition of the value of the creative industries.


We’ve long known the value of the Creative Economy but figures released by the Government this year showed its true impact. The creative industries are worth an incredible £71.4 billion – that’s £8 million an hour; and the number of jobs in the creative economy has increased by over 8% - growing five times faster than the wider UK economy.

At Creative England we’ve seen creativity flourish first-hand. For the financial year to date we have invested £2.6m in creative and digital businesses; £1m into talent development for new and emerging filmmakers and made awards of £790k into film productions. Many of the companies we’ve worked with have used our initial first-in capital to attract follow-on funding and this in turn has increased the chances of a film being a made, a game produced or a business employing more people.

So Happy Christmas to you all and I hope you enjoy reading just some of Creative England’s highlights from the past year:

England’s brightest new filmmakers:

  • It was a fantastic year for iFeatures when The Goob, (the first film from our 2013 slate), premiered at Venice Days, won ‘The Golden Hitchcock’ at the Dinard Film Festival and ‘Best Achievement in Production’ at the BIFA’s. 
  • We made a host of investments in exciting drama and documentary projects, including Spooks: The Greater Good, How to Live Yours – starring Jodie Whitaker (watch our video diaries herehere and here) and Hustler’s Convention staring Public Enemy’s Chuck D. 
  • We announced a £3m uplift for our West Midland’s Production Fund. Watch our Senior Film Executive Richard Holmes discuss the changes here.

We worked with and invested in over 110 creative companies over the last financial year:

  • Including Hugo Cortez, CEO and co-founder of football management app Coacher. After a knee injury put an end to his career as a professional footballer, Cortez applied for our digital accelerator programme in Sheffield, DotForge, to develop his idea. The app is now available for download. He said, "It’s really important that you choose the right people to support you… Every first-time entrepreneur should do something like DotForge at least once!” Read the full Q&A with Hugo here.

We invested in new and emerging games developers, to help bring their ideas to life:

  • Including South West-based start-up Evil Twin Artworks, who won a TIGA Award earlier this year for their Victory at Sea game which was funded by Creative England. Read a Q&A with co-founder James Carroll here.
  • We also partnered with the UK’s leading crowdfunding website Crowdfunder to launch Queen of Code, a programme to find and fund England’s top female game developers and freelancers. If you want to pledge your support, take a look at the shortlist here.

We bolstered our board with some impressive industry leaders, including gaming legend, Ian Livingstone, CBE; publishing icon, Belinda Budge; Karen Blackett OBE,CEO of the UK’s largest media agency, MediaCom; UK CEO of STUDIOCANAL Danny Perkins; and, Matthew Coats, Director General of the Legal Aid Agency.

We brought TV production to the regions: 

  • In the past year alone our team has supported a record £80.5 million of on-location filming, and supported on productions such as Mr TurnerPaddingtonPeaky Blinders, and The Casual Vacancy, to name just a few. We also provided support on festive favourites: Get Santa and the iconic John Lewis advert with Monty the Penguin. 
  • And did you know that Manchester has doubled for the mean streets of 1940s Brooklyn? Or that the Lake District became a fairy-tale world in Snow White and the Huntsman? This year we worked with VisitEngland to develop the Locations Doubles book that showcases some of the best English regions to film in. Take a look at the book here.

It has been a great year and we’re looking forward to an even more successful 2015!

  • Creative Industries
  • Creative England
  • Caroline Norbury