Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bray Studios isn't just Hammer Horror

It is very easy to forget that Bray Studios, whilst established by Exclusive/Hammer Films, has a history that encompasses so much more than horror.

Incorporating the information from the now defunct (and offline) Bray Film Studios website, these are some of the clients who have used the space... (as of 2007).

Hammer also leased the studio out during their ownership. The Errol Flynn Theatre filmed there in 1956. Also filmed: Seige of the Saxons (1963), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966) and more besides... Recent productions to use the studios include Terry Gilliam's Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus.

Bray Film Studios has been involved in the making of films and television productions for over fifty years. Starting with Hammer House horror films, we have subsequently been involved in all genres of this industry, and in all areas from film and television to music videos, rehearsals and commercials. Here are some of our clients past and present:

Live Aid rehearsals, Band Aid rehearsals, Freddie Mercury tribute concert, 911, AC/DC, A-ha, All Saints, Bryan Adams, Marc Almond, Peter Andre, Michael Ball, Shirley Bassey, Beach Boys, Bjork, Bjorn Again, Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli, Boy George, Boyzone, Errol Brown, Sam Brown, Bros, Brother Beyond, Chris De Burgh, B*Witched, Belinda Carlisle, Catatonia, Celtic Tiger (Michael Flatley), Charlatans, The Christians, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Beverley Craven, The Cure, Craig David, Depeche Mode, Barbara Dickson, Dire Straits, Divine Comedy, Duran Duran, East 17, Eurythmics, Gloria Estefan, Elvis the concert, Erasure, Bryan Ferry, Five, Five Star, Gabrielle, Genesis, David Gilmour, Go West, Macy Gray, Hanson, George Harrison, INXS, Iron Maiden, Jamiroquai, Sir Elton John, Tom Jones, Led Zeppelin, Lightning Seeds, Lulu, Barry Manilow, Cerys Matthews, Brian May, Sir Paul McCartney, Metallica, George Michael, Kylie Minogue, Moody Blues, Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene, Sinead O'Connor, Mike Oldfield, The Osmond Boys, The Pasadenas, Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Pop Will Eat Itself, Prodigy, Queen, Finlay Quaye, Radiohead, Razorlight, Chris Rea, Sir Cliff Richard, Lionel Richie, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, S Club 7, Seal, The Shadows, Simply Red, Snow Patrol, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, The Stranglers, Status Quo, Steps, Rod Stewart, Sting, Take That, Texas, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Travis, Jethro Tull, Vanilla Ice, Westlife, Wet Wet Wet, The Who, Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder, War Of The Worlds, Will Young, Zucchero.  

A Month In The Country, Alien (special effects), Britannic, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Chequered Past, Double X, Edward II, Fellow Traveller, For Queen And Country, Girl On A Swing, Jack And The Beanstalk, Hope And Glory, Loophole, MOJO, Midsummer Nights Dream, Monkey King, Mutant Chronicles, Pinocchio (sea monster scene), RKO 281, Resident Evil, Revelation, Shiner, Space Police, Still Crazy, The Hole, The Hollow Reed, The Sea Wolves, The Trench, Unconditional Love, Velvet Goldmine, Witches.  

99-1, Ain't Misbehavin, Alfred J Kwak, Anglo Saxon Attitudes, Auf Weidersehen Pet, Bad Blood, Bait, Beyond Reason, Born And Bred, Challenge To Sport, Demob, Dirty Tricks, Emma, Fimbles, Forever Green, Gone To The Dogs, Heil Honey, Hobson's Choice, How Do You Want Me, Inspector Morse, Invasion Earth, Jeeves And Wooster, Life After Life, Little Red Riding Hood, Marriage Of Figaro, Matlock, Men Of The Month, Murder Most Horrid, Murder Rooms, National Crime Squad, Night And Day, Our Friends In The North, Out Of The Blue, Paradise Postponed, Penguin Cafe, Pie In The Sky, Poirot, Red Alert / National Lottery Show, Roger Roger, Roughnecks, Ruth Rendall's Harm Done, Sex Chips & Rock n' Roll, Small Metal Jacket, Soldier Soldier, Stick With Me Kid, Still Life At The Penguin Cafe, Terrahawks, The Detectives, The Gentleman Thief, The Gift, The Manageress, The Safe House, The Unknown Soldier, The Wyvern Mystery, Titmuss Regained, Turn Of The Screw. 

Update: change for housing imminent : BRAY STUDIOS in DANGER

Things are not looking good for Bray at all.

The planning permission was granted last month for the much-needed repairs to the roof of Bray Studios' central building, the listed Down Place.

The Maidenhead Advertiser posted a report on 3rd June which gave a brief overview of the studios history and pointed to further support within the industry to keep the studios operating on some level. See here.

Then last week the same publication reported that an application was imminent to the Council for a change of use to housing - which would have gone before the Council this week. I'm now trying to ascertain what has happened myself. Report is here. But doesn't bode well.

I should point out that I was approached by an independent film production company a matter of weeks ago who expressed an interest in renting out the studios for long term or indeed in buying them out to continue use as a film studio. Bray Management Ltd. advised them that the studios were not currently for hire, and would not consider selling. The whole thing reeks of a done deal - the management company wants to make their money from conversion to housing, and is not interested in preserving the industry which has operated there for 60 years.

Whether anything can be done to halt or delay this process remains to be seen. The sad thing is, we had someone willing to look into buying the studio prevented from doing so. It appears that Bray Studios has been deliberately run into the ground to facilitate this transition. People still want to use the facilities, it still has a use, and should be allowed to continue.