Ealing Studios

Dates: 1902 – present

Named after the London borough in which it was situated, Ealing Studios has been at the centre of the British Film Industry since 1902 and as such, it’s the oldest film studio in the world.

Unfortunately the studio management is unable to allow tours of the site at this time.

History of Ealing Studios

18??  The White Lodge on Ealing Green is built – a two storey brick building with white render.

1896 Will Barker started making films as an amateur, using a Lumiere Brothers camera. He turned professional in 1901 and started making films on an open-air stage at Stamford Hill, London (2)

1902 Will Barker bought two properties facing Ealing Green: West Lodge (which had nearly four acres of grounds) and The Lodge. He began with a series of lavish historical dramas, all filmed outdoors. (2)

1907 Barker constructs the first covered stage at Ealing; a glass construction. Three such stages were built at Ealing. (2)

1910 Barker makes one of the first screen versions of Hamlet, all shot in one day. The sets were built inside one another and as each set was finished with, it was stripped away to reveal another behind it. The film cost a total of £180, but returned a profit of £600.

1920 Following the First World War, Barker decided to retire from the industry, and Ealing Studios were sold to General Film Renters, who leased them out.

1929 As talkies arrive in Britain, the studios were bought by Union Studios, who re-equipped the run-down studios for the talkes at a cost of £250,000. Unfortunately the company went into receivership soon after when the planned for income never materialised.

1931 Basil Dean extends the studio for his company Associated Talking Pictures (ATP). He took established stage acts such as George Formby and Gracie Fields and launched their movie careers.
The iconic White House Lodge is remodelled into offices for the company, by architect Robert Atkinson.
Construction began in March 1931 of the first two of the planned four stages:

  • Stage 1 (1,972 sqft.)
  • Stage 2 (9,576 sqft.)

November 1931 – A modest opening ceremony was held. As the paintwork and plasterwork was just drying on the new stages, Dean went into produciton of Nine Till SixI.

1934 More construction:

  • Stage 3A
  • Stage 3B – both stages were paired, each giving 6,035 sqft.)

1938 Basil Dean’s attempts to produce serious dramatic films failed, so he gave up on the movie business and returned to his first love, the theatre. He was replaced by Michael Balcon, a producer who’d helped Alfred Hitchcock to success at Gainsborough Pictures in the mid 1920s. He decided to rename the production company Ealing Studios.

1944 Basil Dean’s construction plan was completed with:

  • Model Stage (4,819 sqft.) for special effects work

1947 The golden era of Ealing Studios begins with the production of Hue and Cry.

1955 The BBC buys the studios and spent the next 40 years creating television classics such as Colditz, The Singing Detective and Monty Python on site.

1995 The 3.8 acre site and studios are bought by the National Film and Television School (NFTS) for £2.6million, with the intention of moving their operation from Beaconsfield to a more central site at Ealing. However, it was soon decided that the school would refurbish and re-equip the Beaconsfield facility.

1995-1999 Independent production companies hire the studios from the NFTS, under the name NFTS Ealing Studios.

1999 The NFTS decides to sell the studio. Local press reports stated that although none of the studio buildings (including the iconic White House lodge) are listed, the local council wanted to see film / TV production continue on the site, and not to simply demolish the studio and use the site for far more lucrative housing developments.

2000 The studios were acquired by the current owners.

2001 The White House lodge building is listed by English Heritage. [Link]

2002 Plans are drawn up for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the studio.
http://www.hughpearman.com/articles3/ealing.html

2007 The Met Film School moves to Ealing Studios and begins to run a two year BA in Filmmaking. (it formerly ran short and weekend courses).

2010 The Met Film School establishes an MA in Filmmaking.

Sources:

  • 1) Link
  • 2) Forever Ealing by George Perry

Productions shot at Ealing Studios


Feature Film (35)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
Johnny English Reborn2011Oliver ParkerIMDB Database page about Johnny English Reborn
The Iron Lady2011Phyllida LloydIMDB Database page about The Iron Lady
Make-up tests were carried out at Ealing Studios in the pre-production period.
Burke and Hare2010John LandisIMDB Database page about Burke and Hare
Centurion2010Neil MarshallIMDB Database page about Centurion
Dorian Gray2009Oliver ParkerIMDB Database page about Dorian Gray
Attic scenes and underground tunnel and platform scenes were shot at Ealing.
From Time To Time2009Julian FellowesIMDB Database page about From Time To Time
The Descent: Part 22009Jon HarrisIMDB Database page about The Descent: Part 2
Easy Virtue2008Stephan ElliottIMDB Database page about Easy Virtue
The Bank Job2008Roger DonaldsonIMDB Database page about The Bank Job
St Trinians2007Oliver Parker, Barnaby ThompsonIMDB Database page about St Trinians
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason2004Beeban KidronIMDB Database page about Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Interior of Bridget's flat
Shaun of the Dead2004Edgar WrightIMDB Database page about Shaun of the Dead
Troy2004Wolfgang PetersenIMDB Database page about Troy
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets2002Chris ColumbusIMDB Database page about Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack Of The Clones2002George LucasIMDB Database page about Star Wars: Episode II - The Attack Of The Clones
The Importance of Being Earnest2002Oliver ParkerIMDB Database page about The Importance of Being Earnest
Guest House Paradiso1999Adrian EdmondsonIMDB Database page about Guest House Paradiso
Notting Hill1999Roger MichellIMDB Database page about Notting Hill
Casino Royale1966Val Guest, Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Richard TalmadgeIMDB Database page about Casino Royale
Barnacle Bill1957Charles FrendIMDB Database page about Barnacle Bill
The Ladykillers1955Alexander MackendrickIMDB Database page about The Ladykillers
The Titfield Thunderbolt1953Charles CrichtonIMDB Database page about The Titfield Thunderbolt
The Lavender Hill Mob1951Charles CrichtonIMDB Database page about The Lavender Hill Mob
The Man in the White Suit1951Alexander MackendrickIMDB Database page about The Man in the White Suit
Kind Hearts and Coronets1949Robert HamerIMDB Database page about Kind Hearts and Coronets
Passport to Pimlico1949Henry CorneliusIMDB Database page about Passport to Pimlico
Whisky Galore!1949Alexander MackendrickIMDB Database page about Whisky Galore!
Against the Wind1948Charles CrichtonIMDB Database page about Against the Wind
Hue and Cry1947Charles CrichtonIMDB Database page about Hue and Cry
Fiddlers Three1944Harry WattIMDB Database page about Fiddlers Three
The Halfway House1944Basil DeardenIMDB Database page about The Halfway House
Nine Men1943Harry WattIMDB Database page about Nine Men
Ships with Wings1941Sergei NolbandovIMDB Database page about Ships with Wings
The Eternal Strife / Jane Shore1915Bert Haldane, F. Martin ThorntonIMDB Database page about The Eternal Strife / Jane Shore
Hamlet1910William G.B. BarkerIMDB Database page about Hamlet

Short Film (1)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
Henry VIII1911Louis N. ParkerIMDB Database page about Henry VIII

TV Series (5)

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
Downton Abbey2010 - 2012Julian FellowesIMDB Database page about Downton Abbey
Servants Quarters filmed at Ealing Studios
Cranford2007Sue Birtwistle, Susie ConklinIMDB Database page about Cranford
The Assembly Rooms scenes were shot at Ealing Studios.
Spaced1999-2001Edgar WrightIMDB Database page about Spaced
Series 2 only (Series 1 at Twickenham Film Studios).
The Royle Family1998Caroline Aherne & Craig CashIMDB Database page about The Royle Family
Seasons 1-3 were shot with a single 16mm film camera without a live audience on a set built at Ealing Studios.
Blakes 71978 - 1981VariousIMDB Database page about Blakes 7
Shot on film at Ealing Studios and on tape at BBC TV Centre (from November 1977).

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