Author: North East Screen

Cracking the Comedy Codes; Podcast, Character and Short Film Masterclasses

Posted on by North East Screen

On the 13th of October, NE Screen Comedy Hot House will be hosting an afternoon of panels that will explore the ins and outs of short form comedy development for audio and screen.

As part of BBC City of Comedy, North East Screen and BBC Comedy commissioners are working together to inspire the next wave of comedy content creators to pitch podcasts, comedy characters and attention-grabbing comedy shorts that will get North East talent noticed.

The search is on for comedy talent that can break through the noise, demand (and keep) audience’s attention. To create stories and characters that bring a fresh authentic twist on people and places. 

These panels are linked to the Creator Development Fund, attending will support your application.

The panels are as follows:

Demystifying Podcast Development and Production with special guests Kirk Flash and Julia McKenzie

Ever wondered where to start in comedy podcasting? Let’s talk funny!

Award winning writer, comedian and audio creator Kirk Flash and Radio 4 Comedy and Entertainment Commissioner Julia McKenzie join us to share advice on starting out in audio, what sets an idea apart and how you go about getting yours heard.

Kirk Flash is the creator and voice behind “This is Gay” a podcast which won Silver for Best Comedy at the British Podcast Awards 2022 and Kirk himself won Gold for the Rising Star Award, sponsored by BBC Sounds. He is also the writer and creator of the award-winning animated series Summer Lane Drive which is currently distributed on digital platforms in the USA and Latin America. 

Julia McKenzie resides over the home of comedy, BBC Radio 4. As newly appointed Radio 4 Comedy and Entertainment Commissioner she creates opportunities for writers, performers and producers to thrive, all whilst making the nation laugh. 

Producing Comedy Characters for Screen with special guest Simon Mayhew-Archer

Ever wondered how to create strong comedy characters? Have you got ideas for fresh characters we need to see on our screens?

We’ll be joined by BAFTA award-winning Executive Producer Simon Mayhew. Simon will be talking about his most recent work – the multi award-winning show This Country, starring Daisy May Cooper and Charlie Cooper. Explaining how he approaches working with writer/performers, playing with fresh strong characters and when and how to build a series around a character.

The Art of Comedy Short Film with with special guests Rupert Majendie, Gideon Beresford & Behnam Taheri

Ready to make a bold, inspiring short film that packs a comedy punch and gets you noticed? 

Great short films are a chance to bring a vision to life, show off your talent and build your creative team. 

Gideon Beresford and Behnam Taheri (collectively known as Rosco5) are writer-directors whose visual flair and natural comic timing brilliantly blends their perverse observations with the magical and mundane.   

Originally an editor and a producer, they teamed up as writer-directors for their first short film Open Wide in 2018, which premiered at Palm Springs Shortfest and was acquired by C4 Random Acts. Their subsequent shorts and commercials have screened worldwide, winning numerous awards, and a Vimeo staff pick. They have made shorts for Adult Swim, BBC and Channel 4 as well as shooting a BBC Pilot that is now going to series.

Finishing off the panel is TV, film, online and live comedy Producer Rupert Majendie. Rupert recently produced the (what started off as a short film) Film4 and BFI feature ‘Brian and Charles,’ written by David Earl and Chris Hayward. We’ll be unpicking how to nurture stories and characters.

Click here to sign up for the event via Eventbrite.

Meet the super-hero solicitors of the North East in Northern Justice – a new series for BBC Daytime

Posted on by North East Screen

They might not look like your average superhero, but for those in need, a high street solicitor can be the one who swoops in to save the day.

Heartwarming and funny, moving and timely, this new BBC One documentary series follows a passionate cast of lawyers in the North of England  as they guide ordinary people through extraordinary times in their lives: from a Gateshead pensioner who has been mis-sold an investment opportunity and lost his pension on a share of a hotel room in Turkey, to the owner of an animal rescue centre in North Yorkshire who stands falsely accused of cat theft.  

Each episode focuses on two stand-out cases, following the emotional impact on both client and lawyer, and provides invaluable advice for viewers in similar situations. From Middlesbrough to Morpeth, we meet an immigration lawyer who steps in to keep a family together; small-business owners whose products have been ripped off by major retailers; and a probate lawyer whose client has left their estate to someone they only met a short time before they died.

Two out of three of us will likely seek legal advice in the next four years. And for many, these will be some of the most challenging moments we’ll ever face. Northern Justice shines a light on legal specialists fighting for the justice that ordinary people deserve.

Andrew Eastel, Creative Director at Middlechild Productions, says: “Making this series has been as enjoyable as it has been enlightening. The world of local solicitors, representing ordinary people from their community, is rarely seen on TV. High street firms are full of passionate and hardworking people doing a job they love, often shunning more lucrative areas of law to help desperate people in their times of need.”

Helen Munson, Commissioning Editor, Daytime, says: “This is an uplifting, life-affirming series showcasing solicitors with a passion for what they do and compassion for their clients. It has been a pleasure to work with Newcastle-based Northern Child, who have captured the spirit of the North East on screen and have been fully committed to working with and developing off screen talent in the region.”

Northern Justice is a BBC Daytime commission from Northern Child. The commissioning editors for the BBC are Rachel Platt and Helen Munson.

Northern Justice starts on BBC One from Tuesday 20 September at 10am.  

BBC Comedy presents Adult Film Club, an evening of comedy short films

Posted on by North East Screen

On 29th September in Newcastle, BBC Comedy and NE Screen Comedy Hot House come together to present Adult Film Club, a special screening of comedy short films including everything from innovative sketches to unforgettable viral oddities.

This new exciting event is part of the BBC City of Comedy in Newcastle which aims to help find, nurture and connect new comedy talent in the North East with UK commissioners and the wider TV industry.

Adult Film Club is the baby of comedy writer/performer Chris Cantrill (BBC2’s Alma’s Not Normal and half of Edinburgh nominated double act The Delightful Sausage) and animator/director Sam O’Leary (Inside No.9 and Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared). The night launched in Manchester with the aim of showcasing emerging talent and bringing together comedy creators and now with support from BBC Comedy and NE Screen Comedy Hot House Adult Film Club is coming to the North East. The event is produced by comedy producer Hal Branson.

Navi Lamba, Head of Talent Development BBC Comedy Commissioning said;
“We’re so excited to have Adult Film Club curate our short film nights in Newcastle. They are masters at finding comedy gems on the internet, and simultaneously putting on a 10/10 comedy show. We want to amuse, inspire and champion emerging regional comedy talent and AFC is the perfect vehicle!”

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Professional Development at North East Screen added; 

“We are really excited to partner with BBC Comedy on another great event as part of BBC City of Comedy, we can’t wait to see what the talented folks at Adult Film Club have in store for us. If you like laughing, love short films and want to meet talent and commissioners come along and get inspired.”

Adult Film Club will be hosted at the Black Swan in Newcastle (Westgate Road) starting at 7pm. The show will include an extended interval with the opportunity to network with other comedy fans and creators.

Click here to sign up to the event.


Notes to Editors

NE Screen Comedy Hot House, is a first-of-its kind comedy cooperative nurturing regional talent both on and off screen. We champion, connect and develop the region’s best comedy talent by creating outstanding opportunities with industry partners. North East Comedy Hot House – North East Screen

BBC City of Comedy
Newcastle was announced as the first BBC City of Comedy in September 2021 and hosted the first BBC Comedy Festival. The series of events took place across three days to explore, reflect on and celebrate comedy in the UK and was attended by comedy talent, commissioners, indie producers, people with a new career in TV and comedy and people wanting to break into the industry.

The BBC also announced their Regional Partnership Scheme, co-funded with North East Screen pairing a North East based emerging indie with a leading BBC Comedy supplier. Sea & Sky Productions were selected to work with Hat Trick Productions to co-develop a slate of ideas for BBC Comedy. The BBC City of Comedy in Newcastle will continue with the Adult Comedy short film nights.

This outreach activity is funded by BBC Comedy and North East Screen through BBC Small Indie fund and NESIP.

Adult Film Club is a comedy short film night created by writer/performer Chris Cantrill (Alma’s Not Normal, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared, Late Night Mash) and animator/director Sam O’Leary (Inside No.9, Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared). Based in Manchester, Adult Film Club exists to champion emerging comedy talent, DIY innovation and internet weirdos.

All aboard the Hot House Comedy Shuttle!

Posted on by North East Screen

North East Screen and NEScreen Comedy Hot House have organised a bus to take comedy producers/writers/performers from the North East to the Edinburgh Festival for free on Thursday the 25th of August for the entire day.

TV comedy executives and indies all descend on Edinburgh for the final week of the Fringe Festival, creating a perfect networking opportunity for North East creatives.

The bus will be setting off from the North East early in the morning to allow for approximately 8 hours in Edinburgh.

If you’d like to join us, please register your interest via our Eventbrite page.

Please note, signing up to this event means you are registering your interest. Places are limited and we will send out a confirmation of your place on the bus on Tuesday the 16th of August. If you do not receive a confirmation from us, then unfortunately you will not be admitted on the bus. You must be based in the North East to attend this event.

Email for more information. Keep an eye on the North East Screen and NEScreen Comedy Hot House socials to stay up to date with upcoming events.

Special thanks to the BBC City of Comedy for funding this amazing opportunity!

An exclusive evening of conversation with David Puttnam

Posted on by North East Screen
Oscar-winning producer, David Puttnam, to revisit his legendary career in film, Westminster and education in an exclusive evening of conversation, hosted by Emeli Sandé.

North East Screen, in partnership with Atticus Education, The University of Sunderland and Pinewood Group, are delighted to present a special evening in conversation with one of the legends of British cinema, David Puttnam. The event on the 11th of October at the Fire Station in Sunderland will be hosted by singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé,

We are delighted to be offering free tickets when you sign up via this Eventbrite page. These tickets are part of North East Screen’s free allocation and are limited to 75 spaces. Donations to UNICEF’s Ukraine Children’s Appeal via this Just Giving page are encouraged.

Using excerpts from some of his greatest movies including Chariots of Fire, The Mission, The Killing Fields, Midnight Express and Local Here, he describes how his career took him from 30 years in the Hollywood-dominated film industry to 24 years in Westminster, where he shaped policy in the areas of Media Ownership, Climate Change, Education, Disinformation and Online Safety.

Multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter, Emeli Sande MBE will be hosting the event.

Emeli has many connections with the city of Sunderland. She was born in the city in 1987 and has been Chancellor of the University of Sunderland since May 2019.

Emeli’s passions for music and education have always run side by side. As she pursued her studies at the University of Glasgow, from where she graduated with a degree in neuroscience, her writing and performance skills were honed by playing gigs across the city.

Of the event, David Puttnam said, “I’m very much looking forward to being back in Sunderland, not only to meet the University’s talented new Puttnam Scholars in-person, but also to spend an evening revisiting these feature films and some of the tales and anecdotes from the past 50 years. Whilst I hope the evening will be enjoyable for the audience, I am overjoyed that we are also able to together support UNICEF and its critical appeal for the children of Ukraine.”

The event will take place in The Fire Station Auditorium, Sunderland’s brand new and state-of-the-art performance venue set in the heart of the city’s cultural quarter. Follow this link to access the free tickets via our Eventbrite page.

The event will begin at 7.30 pm.

Photo credit: Justin Walpole

We’re hiring a Talent & Professional Development Manager

Posted on by North East Screen

We are looking for someone to join our professional skills development team as a Talent & Professional Development Manager. This full-time, permanent role will report to the Head of Talent and Professional Development and will be responsible for driving our organisation forward by delivering cutting-edge talent and professional development programmes.

Are you a forward-thinking and innovative collaborator who understands the industry, and has project management experience? Then this is the role for you.

It is an exciting time to join the team at NES so if you’re interested, please visit our jobs page for more information.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 17th July and interviews will be held on Tuesday 26th July.

BBC Comedy Event Producer/Curator opportunity

Posted on by North East Screen

We have an amazing opportunity for an Event Producer/Curator to shape two nights of laughter that will be supported by BBC Comedy and North East Screen’s Comedy Hot House.

The events will showcase the best in digital comedy from around the world and you will get to curate it all. You will be presenting to BBC Commissioners and other industry professionals, bringing the talent you select to their attention.

If you are based in the North East, obsessed with broadcast comedy, and have experience in producing digital comedy, events, or live stand-up broadcasts, then this is the role for you.

The deadline for applications is the 4th of July 2022.

For more information, check out our jobs page.

BBC One commissions Emergency Vets (w/t) in County Durham

Posted on by North East Screen

BBC One Daytime and BBC England have co-commissioned a new series, Emergency Vets (w/t) for BBC One.

This series will be emotional and relatable to all animal lovers, and I’m excited to see what the audience makes of it.”

– Aisling O’Connor, Head of TV Commissioning, BBC England

This brand new, heartwarming series will be shot in and around a Veterinary Referral Hospital in Stockton-on-Tees, showcasing the vets, nurses and ancillary staff who provide care for their furry patients 24/7.

Covering both day and night shifts, the programme will allow viewers to get to know the close-knit team who devote their lives to saving animals, and meet the people that bring in their pets from as far as Inverness, Nottingham, Chester and Surrey to receive treatment from the Wear Referrals family.

On the day shift, specialist staff can deal with as many as 200 cases per week, while in the evening, the practice transforms into a 24/7 A&E unit, responding to as many as 70 cases per week.

Helen Munson, Commissioning Editor for BBC Daytime, says:

“I’m delighted to be working with Twenty Six 03, a North-East-based production company, on this new series, set in the North East, celebrating the amazing skill and dedication of the staff at a world class veterinary referrals centre. What a great way to showcase the talent in the region, oh and there will most certainly be some cute pets too!”

Aisling O’Connor, Head of TV Commissioning for BBC England, says:

“BBC England is growing, developing and expanding its scope to make sure we’re reflecting people in every corner of the country. This series will be emotional and relatable to all animal lovers, and I’m excited to see what the audience makes of it.

“BBC England already has a good working relationship with Twenty Six 03 and we look forward to expanding our work with them in the North East with this new series.”

Duncan Gray and Antonia Hurford-Jones, Executive Producers of Twentysix03, say:

“We’re really pleased to be adding Emergency Vets (w/t) to Twenty Six 03’s rapidly growing slate. We can’t wait to introduce viewers to the remarkable veterinary staff at specialist animal hospital Wear Referrals who quite literally work round the clock caring for the most in need animals from all over the UK.”

Emergency Vets is a 10×30’ series for BBC Daytime and BBC England, co-commissioned by Lindsay Bradbury, Acting Head of BBC Daytime, and Aisling O’Connor, Head of TV Commissioning for BBC England. It is produced by Twenty Six 03, a Gateshead based production company. It will be Executive Produced by Antonia Hurford-Jones and Duncan Gray for Twenty Six 03, Tony Parker for BBC England and Helen Munson for BBC Daytime.

Emergency Vets (w/t) is the latest commission to be announced as part of the partnership between the BBC and North East Screen (formally Northern Film and Media). The successful partnership continues to support the screen industry in the North East, to help build business in the region and to ensure that the North East is better represented to audiences across the UK and internationally.

North East Screen declares the region ‘open for business’

Posted on by North East Screen

Following industry investment of at least £37 million, North East Screen (formerly Northern Film + Media) launches its new name, brand and programme of events at an event in Sunderland today.

The agency is now gearing up to meet the challenge of increasing activity by creating new partnerships, rebranding their successful business model, and creating vibrant industry sector communities. This will enhance and develop the skills that make the North East the place to create excellence in the world of TV and film.

Tom Gutteridge, North East Screen Chairman explains;
“In the last decade despite a challenging funding environment Northern Film + Media has continued to deliver a production service and business support while also lobbying on behalf of the sector in the region.”

Alison Gwynn, North East Screen Chief Executive continues
“With a new name and ambition for growing the sector, real investment and broadcaster partners, we are strongly putting the message out that the North East is open for business.
We have the skills, the passion and the knowledge, not to mention the incredible locations. By increasing our networks and connecting people, skills and companies we want to provide a pathway for regional talent, to encourage companies to set up in the beautiful North East and to say to any native North Easterners working in the industry elsewhere in the UK to come back home!

“The unique partnership created last year by the BBC with all 12 local authorities and three combined authorities across the North East region will help us achieve our vision. We will be delivering a programme of events and skills activity to provide a pathway for students, to attract visiting productions, to keep industry talent in the region and increase the visibility of the region nationally and internationally. By working together we hope to strengthen our position to attract the very best of TV and Film production and talent.”

The BBC is making its biggest investment in the North East for decades as part of a new partnership with the region, and as part of a wider strategy to move significant creative spend and decision-making across the UK.

The BBC has promised to spend at least £25m over the next five years right across the North East to fund network TV production, talent development and support for the creative sector.

It’s part of a deal with local authorities in the North East, who will work with the BBC, and with independent producers, to invest in talent, skills, and infrastructure to support the production industry in the region.

The North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) was created by the partnership to level up the regional film and TV industries by increasing its share of the UK production market and delivering an estimated ­­annual economic impact of around £88m to the regional economy.

NESIP will invest £11.4m over five years to deliver a new Screen Industries Development Programme. The programme will develop, attract, and retain talent in the sector as well as providing good quality, well paid jobs within the industry. As part of the scheme, North East Screen will create even more opportunities to develop the skills that the sector needs to not only survive but thrive. The programme will be delivered through North East Screen’s Crew Academy, Production Service, and the North East Comedy Hot House. 

A statement from the leaders and elected mayors of the authorities in the partnership
“North East Screen are central to delivering the new North East Screen Industries Development Programme and we are delighted to be working together as a region to support them. We want to strengthen the regional creative sector and increase the visibility of our region and it’s communities on screen. We look forward to the growth of the sector and welcoming more jobs and opportunities for people of the North East in film and TV.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said;
“The North East’s TV and Film production industry holds the potential to create good-quality well paid jobs at every level of production. Now is the time to be proactive so that we can develop, attract and retain local talent in the sector.

The BBC has already announced that there will be at least six new commissions filming in the North East as a result of its commitment to the region.

It includes a new documentary series with James Arthur for BBC Three that has been filmed in his home town of Middlesbrough and Scarlett’s Driving School for BBC One, which will also be filmed in Teesside.

The BBC also hosted the BBC Comedy Festival in Newcastle last month, now has a commissioner permanently based in the region, and is providing trainee opportunities within productions in the region.

This partnership with the region is part of the BBC’s commitment to do more across the UK by moving departments, commissioning power, and resources out of London.

Thomas Wrathmell, Director of the BBC’s Across the UK Strategy, says:
“The response since making the huge commitment last year has been incredible and showcases the appetite for making this region a significant centre for the creative industries.

“We’re already delivering on our promise, with six new commissions in the area, investment in skills, production companies and trainee production placements on shows being filmed in the North East and hosting the BBC Comedy Festival in Newcastle last month. We are delighted to see others from across the creative sector investing across the North East and look forward to working together to power the sustainable growth of the sector.”

Alison Gwynn added;
“With our new partnerships and regional investment, we are launching new training schemes, work shadowing opportunities and will continue to provide key links to the industry for locations job opportunities within every part of our region. North East Screen is a one stop shop for the sector and there has never been a more exciting time to work in the TV and movie industry in the North East.”


Notes to Editors
North East Screen Industries Partnership
was formed by Combined and Local Authorities from across the region to level up the regional film and TV industries by more than doubling its 2019 share of the UK production market and delivering an annual economic impact to the regional economy of £88m. 

It includes Tees Valley Combined Authority, (representing the five authorities of Hartlepool Borough Council, Stockton-On-Tees Borough Council, Middlesbrough Council, Darlington Borough Council and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council), the North of Tyne Combined Authority (representing its three partner authorities Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council and Newcastle City Council) and the North East Combined Authority authorities of Durham County Council, Gateshead Council, Sunderland City Council and South Tyneside Council.

Partnership with the BBC, Following the publication of the BBC Across the UK strategy the partnership signed an MOU with the BBC in September 2021, making commitments that:

  • The BBC will spend a minimum of £25m on production and skills development in the North East over the next five years.
  • NESIP will jointly invest £11.4m over the same five-year period to deliver a new Screen Industries Development Programme maximising opportunities for significant growth within the screen industries sector and developing a thriving and sustainable ecosystem.

BBC Comedy announces details of Regional Partnership Scheme with North East Screen and Hat Trick

Posted on by North East Screen

BBC Comedy are working on a brand-new Regional Partnership Scheme co-funded with the North East of England’s creative industries development agency North East Screen. The Regional Partnership Scheme has been established to support the growth of the scripted comedy supply base in an underserved and underrepresented region. 

The partnership will see the companies co-develop a slate of original comedy projects over an initial 6-month period to help strengthen and enhance the local talent and project development in the region, with the aim of getting more of the North East seen and heard within the BBC’s comedy output.

North East Screen have selected Hat Trick Productions as the established comedy supplier that will be working with an emerging indie based in the North East of England. Hat Trick will be spending time in the region working with the selected indie to develop projects and talent, while providing business support and mentorship to help bolster the North Eastern company.

The announcement was made during the Regional Partnerships Panel at the inaugural BBC Comedy Festival which is currently taking place in Newcastle.

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy Commissioning says: “The North East is the best place on earth and a hot bed of exceptional comedy talent. I’m thrilled that we are supporting North East Screen and Hat Trick on a scheme that gets us closer to the regions best comic voices and stories. It’s a dream come true to be collaborating on home soil and I can’t wait to see what brilliant new shows and talent will emerge from the partnership”.

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen says: “We are delighted that comedy in the region is being supported in such a huge way. We hope by working closely with BBC Comedy and comedy giant Hat Trick we can bring opportunities to regional talent developing knowledge, skills and networks. The partnership will be a catalyst for growth in the sector and we’re excited to see local talent flourish.”

Jimmy Mulville, Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions says: “Hat Trick is honoured to be working with BBC Comedy and North East Screen on this fantastic project. The North East has a rich legacy of iconic comic talent both in front and behind the camera and we can’t wait to get stuck in to find the next generation of hit comedies!”

The North East Regional Partnership Scheme is part of the BBC’s commitment to making its biggest investment in the North East of England for decades as part of a new partnership with the region.

The BBC last year announced it will spend at least £25m over the next five years right across the North East to fund network TV production, talent development and support for the creative sector.

Notes to editors:

Applications are now open for North East based indies to apply.

Hat Trick will be in the North East of England to run a session with North East Screen and The North East Comedy Hot House on the 23rd May. There will be an opportunity for North East talent to hear from Jimmy Mulville, one of the founders of Hat Trick,  about developing distinctive and popular comedy series and the journey that led them to become one of the leading producers of comedy, drama and entertainment in the UK.

Hat Trick Productions is an independent production and distribution company co‑founded and led by Jimmy Mulville with offices in London and Belfast. Established with the principle of putting writers first, they continue to nurture both new and established creative talent.