British acting stars should be more than just exports for the US market says BBC boss

Head of BBC Films Christine Langan wants the British to "own" our film productions rather than just give the world on screen talent

British actors should not just be export fodder for the Hollywood market and we Brits should be making our own films “from the ground up,” BBC Films head Christine Langan exclusively tells


Langan, whose work has included producing the TV classic Cold Feet and the hit feature film The Queen which won Helen Mirren an Oscar, says that the British need to “own” our film productions rather than just give the world on screen talent.

In the past few years a host of major British acting talent from Benedict Cumberbatch to Emily Blunt have crossed the Atlantic to further their careers and Langan believes we should have more confidence in our own production capabilites to keep them here.

“I haven’t got anything against international projects that provide work for our cast and crew and creatives, but I think there is an even stronger brand of British film that has truly generated from the ground-floor up here, and obviously that’s what we’re very keen on supporting and developing at BBC Films,” said Langan.

“I think there’s always huge room for improvement, huge room for further inventive investment. I would absolutely love to see a situation where we owned more of the means of production here, that we had our own studios, that we had more financial muscle rather than, kind of, having to go cap in hand to the US as we so often do. But I’m very confident about the state of the industry because there’s so much talent here and there’s so much will to make it work.”

While admitting that the British industry is currently small with the state of film funding in a “precarious” state Langan added: “It’s two industries. There’s the sort of service industry to international projects that come here that, you know, fortunately want to work here, want to use our crews, our cast, our creative talents, our writers, our directors, that’s brilliant.

“But equally, I really want to see the original independent British film industry grow, which is more British in its DNA, it’s not just about international projects or projects that can travel. There’s quite a difference between those two, but I am behind both of them, because there can be a great synergy between them.”

Langan’s department recently unveiled a raft of new films including a big screen adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van and What We Did On Our Holiday starring David Tennant and his Broadchurch co-star Olivia Colman.

In addition, Helen Mirren stars in Woman in Gold playing Maria Altmann, a Jewish Second World War survivor who fought the Austrian Government to retrieve art work stolen from her family during the conflict.