Netflix sues production studio for £200,000 'after asbestos delayed Bridgerton production'
Netflix is suing a production studio for more than £200,000 over claims that production of period drama Bridgerton had to be moved because of fears that asbestos would fall on the set.
The firm signed a £2million-a-year deal to use Neasden Studios for the creation of the eight-part series and starring Dame Julie Andrews.
However High Court papers show Bridgerton had a troubled five-month stint in Neasden last year which ended abruptly in May when Netflix deemed the studio unsafe to use. The roof had been leaking, it is said, ceiling tiles fell down, and in one incident asbestos allegedly fell down on to a construction manager’s face.
Stephen Jourdan QC, in written submissions for Netflix Studios UK, said asbestos was then discovered in roof voids and on top of high beams, which had allegedly not been treated above the point where they could be seen from the ground. He said: “This created a serious risk of ACMs (asbestos containing materials) falling from the high-level beams and columns into the property, causing a danger to health.”
Mr Jourdan said production was moved to an alternative venue “at very considerable expense”.
Netflix is suing the studios and owner Freddy Kelaty’s firm, Asiatic Carpets, for at least £200,000 in damages, and wants a legal declaration that it was entitled to prematurely terminate the lease.
Mr Kelaty insists Netflix was informed of the presence of asbestos from the outset and work had been done to make it safe. The studios denies deliberately misleading Netflix and contends there was no “danger to health”. It is countersuing for more than £2.5 million in alleged unpaid rent and rates.