In September 2020 the news came that film lighting and facilities company MBS Equipment UK Ltd had done a deal with the owners of some smart new industrial units on Symmetry Park, in Aston Clinton, near Aylesbury. MBS took over unit 2 and unit 3, measuring 56,034 sq ft and 112,148 sq ft on a 10-year lease, intending to turn them into film studios. Later in 2020 it was reported that Apple were seeking studios near London to make drama series for their Apple TV+ streaming service and in fact were working in partnership with MBS. They would indeed be the anchor client in these new studios.
According to their website, MBS is the largest provider of studio management and equipment support in the United States and the premiere worldwide resource for studio development, consultation, and design. MBS is either the studio management company or production services provider for over 35 worldwide locations and supporting more than 270 sound stages in nine states and three countries.
They spent the spring and summer of 2021 fitting out these facilities, which were up and running by the autumn. It is not known exactly what the buildings contain regarding number and sizes of stages etc but they certainly have plenty of space to play with. I gather one of the stages contains a large Virtual Production ‘volume’, which comes as no surprise. (This is the technique of filming actors against huge LED screens, upon which a realistic background of scenery is displayed. This could be a desert, jungle, alien planet or cityscape and coupled with foreground set pieces can enable an exterior location to be realistically simulated on a film stage.)