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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 11:20 GMT
BBC pledges 100m for UK movies
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The BBC has acquired the rights to the Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The BBC plans to invest at least 100m in the UK film industry over 10 years.

The money will be split between homegrown movie projects and acquiring British films for broadcast on UK TV.

The news follows a poor showing for British film at Sunday's Bafta awards, with The Constant Gardener winning just one award out of 10 nominations.

However, the investment strategy is subject to a "favourable" licence fee settlement which will be set by the government later this year.

The deal is the result of a new partnership between the BBC and the UK Film Council. Under the plans, the BBC's film production budget will increase by 50%, from 10 million to 15 million a year.

John Woodward
A real boost for the British film industry
John Woodward, UK Film Council

BBC Films' successes include Billy Elliot, Iris and Mrs Henderson Presents. Forthcoming projects include Shooting Dogs and The History Boys, adapted from Alan Bennett's award-winning play.

Film Council chief executive John Woodward called it "a real boost for the British film industry".

"We've always worked well with the BBC in the past, but we now have a unique opportunity to put this relationship on a new footing, sharing the same mission to ensure that more British films are made and shown on the BBC channels."

'Huge contribution'

Research by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom suggested film shown on TV are more important to viewers than soap operas.

Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, said: "Films make a huge contribution to the mix of content on offer to British TV viewers.

"By investing this acquisition money in UK films, we are ensuring that television audiences have access to a mix of movies which includes the very best of British."

Recent BBC acquisitions include the Bafta-winning Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit.

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