HC Deb 19 January 1998 vol 304 cc681-2
10. Mr. Cohen

What steps he is taking to increase the number of British-produced films showing in (a) domestic and (b) international markets. [21450]

13. Mr. Jim Cunningham

What steps he is taking to increase the proportion of British-produced films shown (a) domestically and (b) internationally. [21454]

Mr. Tom Clarke

I share my hon. Friends' aspirations for British films. A key element will be the work of my film review group, which will report shortly with proposals for increasing the market for British films.

Mr. Cohen

Did my right hon. Friend see Barry Norman's review of last year's films, in which he pointed out that, although 125 British films were begun last year—compared with only 47 five years ago—more than 40 per cent. remain unreleased despite having been completed 12 months ago? Will my right hon. Friend take action to improve the distribution network for British films in this country and abroad? Will he go the full monty in improving the selling of British films?

Mr. Clarke

My hon. Friend is right and well informed on this matter, as on others. That important issue is being considered by my film review group, which will report in a few months.

Mr. Cunningham

I thank my hon. Friend for his answer, but can he reveal how the British film industry is doing in the British market, which is as important as the international market?

Mr. Clarke

My hon. Friend and the House will be delighted to know that we have, in the past eight months, increased from 12 to 23 per cent. Britain's share of the film market, with marvellous films such as "Bean", "Mrs. Brown", "The Full Monty" and many others. We are determined to build on those wonderful achievements.