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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Government bid to keep Bond in UK
By Caroline Briggs
BBC News entertainment reporter in Cannes

Culture secretary Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell attended the Cannes premiere of Joyeux Noel
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has told the BBC "everything possible is being done" to make sure the new James Bond film is made in the UK.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Ms Jowell told the BBC News website steps were being taken to keep production of Casino Royale in Britain.

Trade website Screen Daily reported on Tuesday the production could go to a studio in the Czech Republic.

Bond production company Eon was unavailable for comment on the report.

A move abroad would be seen as a big blow to the UK film industry. Traditionally, it has been based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire.

Fleming original

Ms Jowell said: "Bond films have always used exotic locations anyway, and at the moment nothing has been decided.

"But I have spoken to the UK Film Commissioner Steve Norris and he has assured me that everything possible is being done to ensure Bond stays a British film.

"That is something I would very much welcome."

Casino Royale will be based on author Ian Fleming's first James Bond book, following a 1967 spoof spy movie of the same name which starred the late David Niven.

Tax review

Ms Jowell also insisted the film industry remains one of the UK's "success stories" despite a dearth of British movies at the Cannes Film Festival.

The minister, who was in Cannes to take part in a European Union-organised film summit, said British talent in the film industry remained among the best in the world.

But she added that it was important for the government to provide stability amid the current uncertainty surrounding tax breaks for films.

"The film industry is one of our great success stories, but we are conscious of the need to provide stability," she said.

"We are reviewing the tax for larger films, and the need for stability is why the current tax relief system will stay in place for lower-budget films until 2006."

Some US film investors have been deterred after the government announced plans for a new tax credit to replace the existing relief for lower budget movies.



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