Here’s an unexpected consequence of the cataclysmic Brexit that took place earlier today, historically dividing Britain from the rest of the European Union for the first time since 1973 and sending markets all over the world into a plunging tailspin: the massive budget of hit HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones could be heavily compromised.
Seems like a pretty inconsequential ramification of an earth-shattering, game-changing, unprecedented political occurrence, but tragically, it could be these sorts of headlines that enable British voters to truly realize the concrete and immediate repercussions of their decision to secede from the EU, the first-ever country of the 28-nation pact to ever do such a thing (but possibly not the last).
Game of Thrones is shot primarily on location in Northern Ireland, making the show eligible for additional funding from the European Regional Development Fund. However, now that the United Kingdom has voted in favor of leaving the EU, the high-budget production may no longer get the requisite assistance necessary when shooting in Ireland, forcing it to make budget cuts to accommodate the losses.
“It might be up in the air for U.S. studios who want to film in the U.K.,” said Peter Chase, a U.S. thinktank advisor, to Foreign Policy. “There are EU programs to help fund all of this. If the U.K. is no longer part of the EU, that has the potential to go away.”
Game of Thrones won’t be the only show to suffer from Brexit: British movies and television shows were granted more than $30 million over the past seven years from organizations like the European Regional Development Fund and Creative Europe, both of which are initiatives designed to incentivize growth and job creation within the European Union.
Without these programs, writers, actors and producers could all be affected by cuts—in fact, notable entertainers including Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Patrick Stewart signed a letter in support of the campaign to remain in the EU, published on The Telegraph last month. Now that Brexit and the U.K.’s departure is official, it’s uncertain what the future of the British film and television industry will be, and just how significantly our favorite movies and shows (let alone our country) might be impacted by it.