Author: Victoria Glass

NE Screen Comedy Hot House wins regional RTS Centre Award 2023

Posted on by Victoria Glass

North East Screen wins big at the North East and Borders Royal Television Society Awards with their Comedy Hot House winning the prestigious Centre Award for outstanding contribution to the industry.

The award, which recognises an individual, team or organisation’s work either in front of the camera or behind the scenes, was awarded for the team’s development of TV scripted comedy writers, directors, producers and production companies in the North East.

The Comedy Hot House helped attract the first BBC City of Comedy to Newcastle, which led to the region playing host to the BBC Comedy Festival in May 2022, which brought some of the biggest names in comedy to the city.

As part of the festival, BBC Comedy and North East Screen launched the Regional Partnership Scheme with Hat Trick Productions which resulted in the comedy giant working with Hartlepool-based production company Sea and Sky Pictures to develop a slate of comedy projects.

Working with partnerships has been key to the success of the Comedy Hot House who, among many great projects and schemes, supported and fully funded the first writers room to take place in the region with Tiger Aspect Productions, providing work for 8 comedy writers from the North East. 

David Simpson, Head of Comedy at Tiger Aspect said;

“I could not be more impressed and complimentary of the work NE Screen Comedy Hot House are doing and the incredible contribution they are making to our industry. What sets them apart isn’t just the volume and breadth of their work, it’s that what they put in place makes a real, tangible difference.”

The initiative was co-founded in 2019 by Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen and TV executive, Emma Lawson, now Commissioning Editor for BBC Comedy, as an innovative partnership between a regional screen agency and an experienced scripted comedy executive from the region, to help increase connectivity between the region’s comedy community and broadcast opportunities.

The Hot House won its first commission to deliver an order of short form content to Channel 4, with a follow up commission from BBC Comedy to provide short form comedy content for its digital platforms, while in parallel carrying out high profile outreach activity and sharing the learning and opportunities as far across the region as possible.

They quickly won international recognition at the 2020 Makers and Shakers awards where they won the award for ‘Initiative to Grow Local Industry’.

Emma Lawson, BBC Comedy Commissioner and co-founder of the Comedy Hot House said;

“The Comedy Hot House has helped to raise a flag and draw attention to the brilliant comedy talent that has always been here in the region. The team have worked hard to make sure that people are being seen, heard and consistently championed and connected up with as many meaningful opportunities in scripted comedy as possible.

So many of the companies and talent that joined us for the ride back in 2019 are now working alongside experienced executives, award winning major indies, have developments in with BBC, C4 and other broadcasters and crucially, are now working as paid professionals in the genre.

Alongside this, the outreach activity that Hot House also provides has been majorly boosted by the BBC’s presence in the region and continues to benefit many aspiring producers, writers, directors and performers who want to work in comedy. I feel proud of the meaningful change, and championing of collaboration, that the Hot House team has helped to create in the region. Long may it continue.”

The NE Screen Comedy Hot House is led by Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Business Development at North East Screen with outreach activity coordinated and delivered by Mark Kenny, Comedy Talent Co-ordinator. Lisa added;

“Creating and enabling new ways of working in partnership, between industry, broadcasters and local authorities, has been instrumental in shining a light on the region’s lively grass roots comedy scene and championing our talent. This year’s BBC City of Comedy initiatives have unearthed fresh new voices, kickstarted new regional companies and seen us make real inroads into TV.

All of these successes are thanks to the hard work of a wide range of amazing individuals in key organisations working together to make a real difference (screen agency, local authorities, broadcasters, indies) but none of it would be possible without the incredible pool of North East talent, on and off screen, who have risen to the challenge and are definitely up for sharing their love of comedy.

It’s great to receive this award which gives us another opportunity to shout from the rooftops that the region has exciting talent who have their sights firmly set on TV.”

24/7 Pet Hospital – New series starting 6th February on BBC One

Posted on by Victoria Glass

Expect drama, emotion and plenty of heart-warming moments as we follow the work of a close knit pet hospital team who devote their lives to saving animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With privileged access, viewers will bear witness to the staff’s highly specialised work as they tackle whatever comes their way in this new 10-part series.

Viewers will get to know the team from the Wear Referrals hospital in County Durham which, by day, is a specialist care unit treating animals with complex needs and conditions and by night transforms into an A&E unit responding to emergency cases from across the area.

The job always throws up surprises and staff can deal with anything from performing hip replacement surgery on tiny Shih Tzus and extracting corn on the cobs from boxer dogs to treating suspected kidney tumours on much-loved Labradors, wild owls injured by cars – and everything in between.

The series also follows the emotional pet owners who travel from far and wide with their beloved animals to get them life-saving care.

24/7 Pet Hospital has been produced for BBC One by Twenty Six 03, the Gateshead-based production company behind BBC Three series Angels of the North.

Commissioned by BBC Daytime and BBC England, this 10-part series starts on Monday 6 February at 10am.  

BBC invites North East locals to meet stars of upcoming 24/7 Pet Hospital series

Posted on by Victoria Glass

The BBC is inviting North East locals to meet the stars of its upcoming series 24/7 Pet Hospital – as well as bringing along their own furry friends – to a public event being held on Friday 3rd February.

Expect drama, emotion and plenty of heart-warming moments as viewers follow the work of Wear Referrals in County Durham as part of the 10-part series, whose close knit staff devote their lives to saving animals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It’s a specialist care unit treating animals with complex needs and conditions by day and by night it transforms into an A&E unit responding to emergency cases from across the area.

The job always throws up surprises and staff can deal with anything from performing hip replacement surgery on tiny Shih Tzus and extracting corn on the cobs from boxer dogs to treating suspected kidney tumours on much-loved Labradors, wild owls injured by cars – and everything in between.

As well as informative talks from the 24/7 Pet Hospital’s highly specialised staff, Sherpa the guide dog, Alfie the Shih Tzu and Nugget the Labrador who all make their TV debuts in the brand new BBC series, will be attending the public event at Hardwick Country Park in Stockton-on-Tees between 9am and 2pm.

Labrador and golden retriever cross Sherpa is a 10 year old guide dog for owner Denise who’s had him for eight years. Calm but sometimes mischievous, he found himself at the pet hospital when a lump removal wound wouldn’t heal.

Alfie is six years old and owners Christine and Glen have had him since he was eight weeks. He’s laidback, inquisitive and nothing phases him. Their local vet referred them to Wear when Alfie’s hip popped out of its socket whilst on a walk. Surgeon Maciej performed a hip replacement, which was the second major surgery he’d done on Alfie.

Labrador Nugget is seven years old and has lived with Walter, 87 all his life. He originally belonged to Walter’s daughter, who sadly passed away last year. Nugget loves walks and is a docile dog who will go up to others and say hello, even if he doesn’t get a very nice response! He found himself at Wear after scans showed abnormalities on one of his kidneys.

Helen Munson, BBC Daytime Commissioning Editor, said: “I can’t wait for our viewers to meet the staff and patients at the Pet Hospital. Get ready for some heart-warming telly as we look at the incredible expertise and loving care that goes into making our beloved pets well again.”

Antonia Hurford-Jones and Duncan Gray, Twenty Six 03 Executive Producers, said: “We’re excited to give people the chance to meet the Wear team and some of the stars of the show.”

24/7 Pet Hospital has been produced for BBC One by Twenty Six 03, the Gateshead-based production company behind BBC Three series Angels of the North.

Commissioned by BBC Daytime and BBC England, this 10-part series starts on Monday 6 February at 10am.  

The North East is declared Filming Friendly

Posted on by Victoria Glass

North East Screen, the regions screen agency, announces today that all 12 local authorities across the North East have signed up to their Filming Friendly Charter declaring the region officially Filming Friendly for TV and Film production. 

As production is increasing in the region, thanks to the investment and commitment of the BBC and the new North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), the opportunity of attracting production companies to film in the region has never been greater.

The Charter, signed by the Chief Executive and Leader of each local authority and Chief Executive of North East Screen, Alison Gwynn, ensures each local authority works closely with North East Screen, assists productions through one point of contact and continues to align their processes and contacts to facilitate filming across all parts of the North East.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director of North East Screen said;

“We’ve proved that big blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and Dungeons and Dragons are attracted to our region and in 2022 we had a record number of BBC programmes filming in the area but we want to see more – more feature films, more TV dramas, more documentaries, more returning series, more factual programmes.

We need to make sure the filming process is as efficient and straight forward as it can be so having the support and readiness of each local council to facilitate and understand the process will help us to achieve this.”

Katie Strachan, Film Office Manager at North East Screen said; 

“The economic benefits of production companies filming in our region can’t be underestimated. Productions are not only supported by our local authorities and local crew, but they also require a strong network of local businesses and facilities – from caterers to couriers, accommodation to security there are many services that can support the success of a production, and in turn benefit local business. By attracting more productions to the region, we not only want to grow the industry but encourage more businesses to support these productions and add value to our local economy.”

Gayle continued;

“We are delighted to be fully supported by the local authorities and combined authorities. We have the locations, the talent and the facilities and now this commitment will make us an even more attractive region to film in. ”


Lights, Camera, Gateshead

Posted on by Victoria Glass

Council chief executive Sheena Ramsey and Council Leader Martin Gannon, have signed a Filming Friendly Charter on behalf of the local authority with North East Screen – who are developing and championing North East England as a UK-leading film and TV production hub, where industry talent can live, create and work.

In signing the charter Gateshead Council recognises the positive economic and cultural benefits that hosting filming activity can have on the locality. In recent months Gateshead based production company Twenty Six 03 celebrated the broadcast of season 4 of Angels of the North and Signpost Productions produced Robson Green’s ‘Weekend Escapes’ to name just a few successes.

Gateshead has wonderful assets which compliment the regional screen industry, including PROTO’s Advanced Media Production Studio that offers a unique combination of technologies – Virtual Production, Motion Capture, Photogrammetry, 5G Private Networks and XR equipment that enables hands-on experimentation, training and skills development to address gaps that exist today in the creative industry.

The studio includes large LED volume and enhanced motion tracking capabilities will allow creative and digital companies to design and develop new content and experiences. PROTO will also be connected by a 10gbps private network with Target3D studio in London, a unique 5G connected research and innovation offer which bridges the gap between digital and physical.

Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said 

“Through signing the filming friendly charter, I am committing Gateshead to play its role in collaboration with the region to grow the screen sector. This is an opportunity for us to showcase the talent we have here in Gateshead but also the region. The creative talent is not just limited to the traditional roles we associate with the screen industry, but we also need skills such as joiners, electricians, caterers and hospitality.”

“By committing to the charter, we recognise the economic benefit that the sector can bring to Gateshead and the region, through attracting productions. We want the region to be recognised as a centre of excellence. We want to develop our own talent but also attract talent into the region across all aspects of screen production.”

Sheena Ramsey, Chief Executive of Gateshead Council, said:

“The Filming Friendly Charter is a fantastic opportunity for the North East to showcase all the hidden gems we have up here, including the amazing technology we have here in Gateshead at PROTO. The filming friendly charter brings a real opportunity for residents from across the region to thrive. I’m delighted that we are a part of the wider regional approach to creating a thriving screen sector that will benefit a whole host of different businesses and individuals. The sector is already proving to be an economic driver for Gateshead with companies relocating successful production companies to Gateshead from the south.” 

Duncan Gray, Founder of Twenty Six 03, said:

“In 2020, when we were filming Angels of the North, we discovered that Gateshead was an exciting place to run a creative business. At this point we were filming season 2 of Angels and decided to look at relocating our head offices from Brighton to the North East. As a region it is culturally rich and has a whole host of stories we can tell on TV. 

“During filming of Angels of the North we found Gateshead Council to be incredibly proactive, helpful and receptive to filming in the borough.

“Gateshead Council has a tradition of supporting creative enterprise and has shown itself to be forward thinking in ensuring that creative businesses have a place where they can succeed. When it came to establishing a formal head office in the North East it felt right to us that we came to Gateshead.”

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen said:

“We are working closely with the North East Screen Industries Partnership and the BBC to encourage and promote filming across the North East. We want all parts of our region to benefit. It is important that each local authority area is committed to welcoming production crews and making the process of filming as smooth as can be. North East Screen will support them to do this. 

“The economic and tourism benefits of a production filming in our area and the jobs it can create for local crew, as well as local businesses across the supply chain, is something we don’t want any part of the North East to miss out on. We are delighted that Gateshead have signed up to the charter and look forward to working with them to encourage more filming in the borough.”