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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Film funding 'shocking' says Ross
Jonathan Ross
Ross spoke at the launch of an online guide to Ealing Film Studios
TV and radio presenter Jonathan Ross has called on the government to do more to support cinema production in the UK.

"It's shocking the lack of support the government gives the film industry," said Ross, who presents the BBC's Film 2006.

Britain did "next to nothing" compared to France, he said, "where cinema is allowed to grow and survive because it's shielded from outside forces".

"If it wasn't for the Bond movies and Harry Potter we'd be dead on our feet."

The presenter, who also has a BBC One chat show and hosts a BBC Radio 2 show, was speaking at the launch of an online guide to the work of the Ealing Film Studios.


A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said creating and maintaining a sustainable film industry was one of the government's priorities.

"That's why we introduced a new tax break system - to give big- and small-budget films generous deductions if they film in the UK and use our world-class facilities," she said.

She also pointed to the work of the UK Film Council and the British Film Institute (BFI) - both funded by the government - as well as international treaties to attract foreign film-makers to the UK.

"The UK is an attractive place to make a film. We will ensure that remains the case so big budget films such as the Da Vinci Code and Batman Begins continue to be made here as well as UK indigenous feature films."

The number of home-grown films rose from 27 in 2004 to 37 in 2005, she added.


The online guide to Ealing films, developed by BT and the BFI, offers excerpts from classic comedies like The Ladykillers and Passport to Pimlico as well as clips from lesser-known titles.

Ross, who appears on the site to welcome visitors and introduce clips, said the scheme shone light on a "neglected chapter in British cinema which deserves to live again".

He said he was "hugely honoured" to be a part of the BFI initiative, despite the fact he was not being remunerated for his involvement.

"They don't even give me a parking space when I go there," he joked. "And as you know, I normally do things just for the huge amount of cash."

Ross, whose BBC contract expires next year, is one of the corporation's most highly-paid personalities.

Last year the BFI launched an interactive guide to early film comedy, hosted by comedian Paul Merton.

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