JIM HENSON'S CREATURE SHOP in London faces closure, because movie makers are turning their backs on the UK after the removal of tax incentives there.

The workshop has been responsible for creating the characters in films including The Flintstones , Babe, The Muppets, LABYRINTH and HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY since it was opened on the capital's Regent's Canal in 1979.

But the uncertainty surrounding the British film industry, after the Government removed tax breaks to encourage studios to make movies in the UK, looks certain to cause it to close, making 23 permanent staff redundant.

Jim Henson Company president PETER SCHUBER says, "It's much more about the tax incentives and lack thereof for doing work in London, as well as the miserable dollar right now.

"Because of those two external elements, which are out of our control, we are going to look at a whole range of alternatives including possibly shutting the Creature Shop."

Schuber, however, insists the closure will not affect the future of the Henson Company, which is based in Los Angeles.

05/06/2005 10:32