The Isle of Man stands to miss out as a location for a new Suranne Jones TV drama even though part of the series is set here.
It’s because the island can’t offer the same tax credits as the UK. Now it looks as though the Isle of Wight and Ireland will be the locations instead.
Former Corrie star Jones is one of TV’s hottest properties, having been the lead in hits such
as Doctor Foster, Scott and Bailey and last year’s submarine conspiracy thriller Vigil.
It is understood the three-part series is destined for ITV, but the production team has switched its attention to other locations after learning it would not receive a tax credit of nearly £1 million from the Isle of Man..
But the Department of Enterprise is still trying to find a way to bring some of the production to the island.
Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Tim Glover revealed the news in the House of Keys on Tuesday, raising the issue with Enterprise Minister Dr Alex Allinson.
He asked: ‘Could the minister tell the House why a three-part ITV series ‒ written by AnnMarie Lamb and standing Suranne Jones in the lead role, a well-established actress ‒ featuring the Isle of Man, is now going to be shot in the Isle of Wight and Ireland as representing the Isle of Man?’
Dr Al said it wouldn’t be right to talk about individual cases, but added: ‘I understand various emails were sent to various political members lobbying on behalf of this production company.
‘In the UK there is a tax credit scheme, which basically gives production companies upfront funding for various productions. But the film production company must be within the UK corporation tax net to qualify for tax credits.
‘The Isle of Man does not have corporation tax and therefore we don’t have the same tax credit system here and cannot give that upfront funding out of taxpayers’ money.’
He said Enterprise reps met the production team and offered support ‘in terms of introductions to crew, equipment hire and to facilitate any logistics such as road closures if needed’.
Consequently, Dr Al is hopeful ‘some’ of the production may take place here, but conceded: ‘We do not have the facility to use taxpayers’ money to fund one-off productions on the Isle of Man.’
Earlier, Dr Allinson was asked what support had been offered to film and TV productions in the Isle of Man in the last two years.
He said: ‘The department currently does not offer financial assistance towards directly supporting individual film or TV productions. Therefore no financial assistance has been offered directly to feature films or television productions in the last two years.
‘However the department has provided financial support to media production companies involved in producing content for television or other services. Currently, the department’s focus is on businesses which will establish a permanent presence, premises and employees on the island, rather than one-off productions, which will just create temporary employment.’
Mr Glover asked whether previous financial issues with the film industry had contributed to the situation. A report into £26 million losses in the Media Development Fund was published last year.
‘Have we had our fingers burned a little bit and a lack of imagination from events that happened in the past?’
Dr Al said some of the evaluation of the financial benefit from films being shot in locations ‘has not shown that initial investment has produced the right results’.
He added: ‘We need to be very careful how the government is seen to spend taxpayers’ money to promote films and television productions that may not actually generate employment and wealth for the very people who are paying for it.’