Author: Victoria Glass

Women X Industry Panel

Posted on by Victoria Glass

North East Screen’s Comedy Hot House is delighted to announce the line up for its Industry Panel that is being held at the Women X Film Festival in Darlington on the 3rd of September.

12.30-1.30 Darlington Hippodrome, followed by informal networking.

Getting noticed and landing your first break writing for TV. North East Screen Comedy Hot House and Comedy 5050

Ever wondered how to write for TV? Come along and listen to our panel of experienced creatives about their writing journey, how they got their first break, and what they are doing to support more female writers to get their start in the industry. 

Meet two writers from the region who have recently broken into the TV industry, alongside the founder of Comedy 50:50, an initiative to address gender inequalities in TV comedy. Hear about the different routes their careers have taken and why they think it is important to champion new voices and inclusivity in the industry. 

Panel Guests

Saskia Schuster, founder of Comedy 5050, head of scripted at Fulwell 73 and the former Controller for Comedy at ITV. Anna Costello, a writer whose first comedy pilot recently aired on Dave, UKTV and Emily Fairweather, a writer who gained her first appointment on a BBC one drama, and who has since had several of her scripts optioned.

Hosted by Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and manager of Comedy Hot House at North East Screen.

Comedy 50:50 was founded by Saskia Schuster to address the gender imbalance in comedy, and to reflect the diverse range of voices that make up society. Comedy 5050’s intention is one of inclusivity and to push forward changes in a manner that is respectful to all talent. The initial focus is on writers, but the aim is to extend the initiative to all aspects of comedy performance and production.  

Anna Costello is a writer from Consett, County Durham. In 2021 Anna was nominated for the All3Media New Comedy Script Award and won the UKTV and TriForce Underrepresented Writers Initiative. Anna’s comedy pilot Dead Canny is screening on UKTV for Dave. As a senior creative at Electric Noir Studios, Anna works on their BAFTA-nominated series, DEAD MAN’S PHONE, developing and writing interactive detective series for their mobile storytelling platform. Anna is represented as a writer by Berlin Associates. Dead Canny will be aired on August 24th at 10 pm on Dave, UKTV.

Emily Fairweather is a writer and actor from North Shields. Emily has worked on projects for the likes of UKTV and ITV and gained her first broadcast appointment on The Mallorca Files for BBC One. In addition, Emily has had a number of her original scripts optioned and is represented as a writer by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.

Buy your tickets for the event here.

Sea & Sky pictures announced as North East Indie partner for BBC Comedy’s first ever Regional Partnership Scheme

Posted on by Victoria Glass
North East Screen and Hat Trick Productions announce Sea & Sky pictures as North East Indie partner for BBC Comedy’s first ever Regional Partnership Scheme.

The new scheme was announced earlier this year as part of the BBC City of Comedy package.

Following an in depth selection process, involving industry leaders across business and editorial, Sea & Sky Pictures has been selected as the North East production company to co-develop a slate of ideas for BBC Comedy working alongside Hat Trick as part of the BBC’s Regional Partnership Scheme.

From a selection of 25 North East companies who applied, seven companies were introduced to the team at Hat Trick, with three going into more detailed conversations. Following these discussions Sea & Sky Pictures has been identified by Hat Trick as the company to work alongside them.

Jimmy Mulville, Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions said;
“It’s clear that the North East is teaming with talented producers and writers so it was difficult to select just one company for this particular opportunity, but having done so I can’t tell you how excited we are to be working with Sea & Sky on getting some brilliant projects to screen.”

Adam Bouabda, Managing Director of Sea & Sky Pictures added;
“The co-operation that it’s taken to get this initiative off the ground is phenomenal, I owe a massive thank you to Alison Gwynn, Lisa Laws, Jimmy Mulville and Emma Lawson. Sea & Sky Pictures will benefit massively from this partnership because I’ve never had the opportunity to work inside of a big indie, so I feel like we’re getting a look behind the curtain. We’ve got a great slate of comedy projects that I know Hat Trick are going to love and getting to develop four of them with the experienced team they have, is going to make it an interesting journey.”

Sea & Sky Pictures will receive £15,000 as part of the partnership to co-develop a slate of original comedy projects over a 6-monthy period.

Candle and Bell and Schnoobert Productions, the two other production companies who Hat Trick showed a keen interest in will also benefit from the process and will be awarded a £5,000 development bursary from BBC Comedy. The additional engagement was engineered as a response to having so much promising talent presented for the scheme and BBC Comedy wanting to support and engage with as many potential suppliers in the region as possible. The fund will also include time with the BBC commissioning team, and bespoke business support from North East Screen including PACT membership.

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Professional Development at North East Screen said;
“Working in partnership with the commissioning and business teams at BBC and Hat Trick on this scheme has already given a huge boost to the development of scripted comedy in the North East. It was great to see so many exciting regional companies step up for this opportunity to co-develop with a world class indie like Hat Trick. It shows we don’t have a shortage of ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for producing exceptional TV comedy from and in the region.

This is not a win for one it’s a win for all and I am sure we will see the talent in the region working together to make the most of this and the future opportunities it will unlock. It’s a very exciting time for all the companies and talent involved.”

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy added:
“We’re delighted that Sea & Sky Pictures have been selected to go on this journey with Hat Trick – big up the Teessiders! Adam is such an entrepreneurial, collaborative producer, with an infectious energy, who has demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to comedy over the years. He is working with some of the very best emerging and established talent around, and we feel very lucky to have Sea & Sky Pictures, and all who sail with them, joining us for the first outing of this scheme.

The uptake for the scheme has meant that key industry figures have seen just how many unique, strong contenders to make comedy there are in the North East, which is a massive deal for the community as a whole. We hope to be working with many more of the companies over the coming months and have already allocated development funds to immediately support two more companies with their slates – Maria Caruana Galizia’s Candle & Bell Films, and Jason Cook’s fledgling Schnoobert Productions.”

The North East Regional Partnership Scheme was announced at the first BBC Comedy Festival in Newcastle upon Tyne (the first BBC City of Comedy) in May 2022, and 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

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 nuture both new and established creative talent.

Sea & Sky pictures based in Hartlepool is a small indie formed in 2020 by Adam Bouabda. The company has produced scripted comedy, BFI funded short films, online content for commercial clients and its first feature film. They are developing and pitching several sitcoms and factual entertainment programmes to major broadcasters and streamers and have grown as an organisation thanks to recent funding.

Candle & Bell was formed in 2013 and named one of the Top 50 Emerging Creative Companies, by Creative England. The company produces commercial content and currently has feature films in development with the BFI, Torino Script Lab, Jordan Film Fund and EIFF Talent Lab Connects.

Schnoobert Productions was recently founded by Jason Cook, stand up, actor, screenwriter and executive producer. The company is partnership focused and was formed to give other North East writers, performers, producers, directors and other creatives an outlet. They are developing drama and comedy ideas and creating passionate, authentic characters to tell relatable and compelling stories.

We are recruiting for a Finance Director

Posted on by Victoria Glass
North East Screen is undergoing large scale growth supporting unprecedented growth in the screen industry across the whole of the North East.

We are looking for a Finance Director, a leader who can help shape our future activity with a proactive approach to problem solving and excellent communication skills.  The successful candidate will be a member of the Senior Management Team and required to sit on the Finance Sub-Committee and provide North East Screen and the North East Screen Industry Partnership’s (NESIP) Board with sound financial advice to aid strategic decision making.

If you would like to find out more about this role, please visit our jobs page for further information.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 28th August.
The post is 3 days/22.5 hours per week.

Alison Gwynn, wins RTS Award for Outstanding Contribution

Posted on by Victoria Glass
NFM Chief Executive, Alison Gwynn, wins RTS North East and Border Award for Outstanding Contribution
Following a challenging period for the North East’s screen industries, Alison has been integral in securing significant and future investment from the BBC in partnership with the two combined authorities and 12 local authorities of North East England. This will enable the region to become one of the UK’s leading TV and film production hubs.

The BBC announced back in September that they would spend at least £25 million right across the North East, funding network TV production, talent development and support for the creative sector.

Since that announcement, the BBC has already named Newcastle as it’s first City of Comedy, provided two commission opportunities to be filmed in the North East, the return of Our Friends in the North as a Radio 4 show and announced that Northern Child will begin production on Northern Justice (w/t) this Spring.

Alison’s contribution to this significant investment has not gone unnoticed by those in the industry, who gave her a standing ovation on Saturday night as her name was announced as the winner of this impactful award.

As an organisation, we are absolutely thrilled that Alison has been recognised by industry colleagues and look forward to bringing you more announcements on future developments for the North East in due course.

Tiger Aspect Producer Development Training

Posted on by Victoria Glass
Development Producer Training

North East Comedy Hot House are teaming up with Tiger Aspect to uncover and help train the best scripted comedy development and producing talent in the region.

Could this be you?

Do you love, live and breathe sitcoms and scripted comedy? Do you think you’ve the next Friday Night DinnerFleabag, Man Like Mobeen, Ghosts, People Just Do Nothing, Plebs, Motherland, Brassic, or Benidorm inside you? Have you got a passion to turn those ideas into the next big British comedy? If so, then you’re going to love this.

In a nutshell

Northern Film + Media’s North East Comedy Hot House has joined forces with award-winning production company Tiger Aspect to offer an exciting training opportunity for an up and coming Scripted Comedy Development Producer from the North East to shadow, and learn from, the in-house comedy development team at Tiger Aspect on a six-week flexible training placement. And the best bit – it can be done right here in the North East.

What we’re offering

If you’re successful, you’ll learn how sitcoms and scripted comedies get all the way from idea, to script, to screen. This learning will take place for two days a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) over a six-week period.

  • You’ll attend development meetings (on Zoom) where you’ll learn about channel briefs, managing slates and nurturing talent, and how to align development thoughts with that of commissioning briefs and market trends.
  • You’ll learn how pitch decks and treatments are formulated, what makes a good one and why approaches may be different for different channels.
  • You’ll be encouraged to work on your own development slate and the Tiger Aspect team will help and advise you on how best to navigate the development.
  • You’ll be shadowing the specific development of a sizzle tape as part of a pitch for a new BBC3 series set in Sunderland. Following the development from script, to shoot, to edit, to the final delivery of the sizzle tape and supporting document.
  • There will be other opportunities to gain experience attending shoots and post-production sessions to help give you a fuller rounded perspective of the development to production process.
  • You’ll also receive two hours per week of one-to-one mentoring and support from Emma Lawson and Lisa Laws from North East Comedy Hot House.

Could this be the perfect opportunity for you?

If you’ve got this far, then you are definitely interested in knowing more. But first off, we need a bit of info about you:

  • Are you able to demonstrate a proven interest in developing comedy projects for broadcast and have a keen interest in comedy (this can include all avenues such as online, social media, film, radio and TV)?
  • Are you already in the comedy world? This isn’t an entry level position, so any experience you have with developing comedy will need to be demonstrated – this doesn’t have to be broadcast work. This could be work on social platforms, theatre, podcasts or radio, running comedy nights, writing for papers – anything that demonstrates an appetite for developing work, and a love of comedy.
  • We’re interested in diverse viewpoints and would love to hear from candidates who are underrepresented in broadcast TV. If you’re unsure whether you might fit the bill, then drop us a line and we’ll be happy to have a chat.
  • People of all ages are encouraged to apply.
  • Funding for this initiative comes from North East Local Enterprise Partnership which means you must live in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, County Durham or Northumberland to take part.
  • We’ll need you to work from your own home, the Northern Film + Media offices in Gateshead and on location across the North East, so please consider how you’ll get around before applying.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to travel to London on occasion to work either on location or in the Tiger Aspects offices (subject to local Covid-19 restrictions).
  • You’ll need your own laptop and internet connection.
  • You’ll receive a bursary of £2,000 to cover your out-of-pocket expenses and additional travel expenses where appropriate.

How to apply

The deadline for this opportunity has now passed.

If you’re still interested in knowing more about future opportunities like this, please drop us a note and we’ll keep your details on record for future projects we have coming your way. Email

Northern Film + Media is working to build a more diverse workforce. We value difference and promote inclusion and actively encourage applications from those who consider themselves as having minority representation in the creative industries (i.e. due to their socio-economic background, age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and/or belief). We encourage applications from people who are underrepresented as part of North East Comedy Hot House’s commitment towards creating a more diverse TV sector.

About those involved

North East Comedy Hot House, co-founded by Emma Lawson and Northern Film + Media, is a first-of-its kind scripted comedy development initiative and scripted comedy production co-operative, supporting industry focused North East talent both on and off screen. We are dedicated to nurturing up-and-coming comedy talent from the region by creating exciting opportunities on home soil, giving you the chance to work here in the North East.

Tiger Aspect Productions is internationally recognised as one of the UK’s most successful and prolific independent television producers. Producing high profile, multi-genre content for both UK and international audiences, key productions include Man Like Mobeen (BBC Three), Peaky Blinders (BBC Two), The Good Karma Hospital (ITV 1), The Other One (BBC One), Hitmen (Sky One) and Mr Bean (CITV).

This year Tiger Comedy has a number of different productions in the works, including TV pilots, a radio show and six TV series – for broadcasters including Sky, C4, Netflix, R4 and the BBC.

This is initiative is part of the Sizzle project, a collaboration between Northern Film + Media and North East Local Enterprise Partnership developing North East Comedy Hot House as a regional cluster for broadcast comedy.

More general information on TV Development Producer job roles can be found on Screenskills.


We’re hiring a Film Office Coordinator

Posted on by Victoria Glass

Recruitment time at North East Screen

As our team expands to meet the demands of the growing industry in the North East we are looking for a Film Office Coordinator.

Would you like a job encouraging film and TV production companies to shoot in our region and finding North East crew for filming? Are you interested in helping people new to the industry take their first step on their career ladder?

We are looking for someone with film and TV experience who has drive and determination and is very organised.

Please note – you MUST be able to drive and have access to a vehicle to be considered.

For full information on this position and to apply see our jobs page.

Robson Green’s Dirty Weekends (w/t) commissioned for BBC Two from the North East

Posted on by Victoria Glass

Set exclusively in the North East against the backdrop of some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, the series will see Robson and some of his famous friends get stuck into some good, clean fun, as he celebrates everything that’s great about the region

BBC Daytime and Early Peak has commissioned Robson Green’s Dirty Weekends (W/T), a 15 x 30’ co-production between North East based Rivers Meet Productions and Signpost Productions.

The announcement follows an extensive search for a formatted factual series produced in the North East.

Set exclusively in the North East against the backdrop of some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, the series will see Robson and some of his famous friends get stuck into some good, clean fun, as he celebrates everything that’s great about the region.

BBC Commissioning Editor, Helen Munson, says: “I’m really pleased to announce this exciting new commission from my home county. There is so much talent here in the North East, both on and off screen and this series will absolutely reflect that. Robson is a firm favourite with the audience and I’m looking forward to seeing this wonderful series get underway.”

This commission is the fourth time the two companies have worked together.

Robson Green is Director at North East based Rivers Meet Productions, and is strongly committed to the region and helping to develop local talent. He says: “I’m over the moon that we’re going to be co-producing this great series for BBC Two with Signpost productions. This series will showcase the best the North East has to offer.”

Signpost, also based in the North East, aims to help create a robust production sector in the region with returning and long-running commissions. The company grew out of an access services provider and has won several industry awards for its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Gareth Deighan Creative Director at Signpost, says: “We’re delighted to get filming this great series with Robson Green and friends, we want to make sure we’re contributing to putting the North East on the map.”

The new commission for BBC Two early evening forms part of the BBC’s commitment to spend £25m in the North East over the next five years.

Robson Green’s Dirty Weekends (W/T), is a 15 x 30’ co-production between Rivers Meet Productions and Signpost Productions. It has been commissioned by Helen Munson commissioner for BBC Daytime and Early Peak.

BBC announces – North East to be production base so people can follow career path in their home region

Posted on by Victoria Glass

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

BBC Director-General Tim Davie visited the Northern Studios in Hartlepool on Friday to hear about the progress made so far as part of the regional partnership.

The BBC announced its biggest investment in the North East of England for decades in September last year, as part of a new partnership with the region.

Local authorities in the North East pledged to work with the BBC and independent producers to invest in talent, skills, and infrastructure to support the production industry in the region.

They also outlined a commitment to look for opportunities to grow relationships with local facilities such as the Northern Studios in Hartlepool and the independent production sector.

Mr Davie met with representatives from Local Authorities and Mayoral Authorities at the Northern Studios in Hartlepool this afternoon.

He said: “The BBC made a big commitment when we set out to build a partnership in the North East.

“We’re already delivering on this, with six new commissions in the area, investment in skills,  production companies and trainee production placements on shows being filmed in the North East.

“We want to work collaboratively to build a brilliant, sustainable production base in the region so people can follow the career path they want to in their home region. We want to do more for the North East.”

The BBC last year 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.

They will also provide funding via North East Screen, the North East’s regional screen industry development agency, to boost the creative sector in the region.

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

The BBC has so far announced a new documentary series with James Arthur for BBC Three that’s going to be filmed in his home town of Middlesbrough and Scarlett’s Driving School for BBC One, which will also be filmed in Teesside.

North East LEP supported comedy is ready to make you laugh

Posted on by Victoria Glass
Laugh Lessons, a BBC Three commission, launched Thursday 17th June featuring five comedy sketches from North East talent who have been supported through a unique project between Northern Film + Media (NFM)’s North East Comedy Hot House and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

Laugh Lessons, a BBC Three commission, launched Thursday 17th June featuring five comedy sketches from North East talent who have been supported through a unique project between Northern Film + Media, North East Comedy Hot House and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP).

North East Comedy Hot House (NECHH) were awarded one of four national commissions from the BBC earlier this year to support producers to deliver Laugh Lessons. Laugh Lessons is a BBC Three and BBC Comedy Association collaboration which has seen four production companies across the UK produce up to five three-minute comedy sketches each, with a particular focus on providing new opportunities to diverse and underrepresented comedy voices, with an emphasis on discovering new onscreen and behind the camera talent.

The commissioned sketches involve new behind the camera talent, James Craggs and Emma Roxburgh. This is the second win for James’ company, Motif, having already won an RTS North East and Borders Comedy Award in 2020. Emma is developing into one of the region’s top development producer/directors and was part of the BFI’s Network Weekender earlier this year.

Laugh Lessons comes hot on the heels of NECHH winning the prestigious international Makers and Shakers award for Initiative to Grow Local Industry.

Emma Lawson, Co-founder of NECHH and leading industry exec, said,

“Collaboration is never easy, but we can certainly celebrate what we’ve achieved by championing James Craggs and Motif, and Emma Roxburgh to develop the slates for Laugh Lessons.

‘Being able to empower local companies, bringing people together and encouraging collaboration has seen this local talent flourish, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next in line for these guys.”

Speaking of being awarded the commission, James Craggs, Managing Director of MOTIF said,

“The BBC provides a hallmark of quality for any production company it is associated with, so to be able to point towards a commission from them within our first year of existence is something we never dreamed of. It’s propelled us forward as a company far faster than we expected and given us the confidence and the chance to pitch for bigger things, something we didn’t think was possible just yet.”

The North East LEP provided funding support through the Cluster Development Fund for NECCH to create a broadcast scripted comedy cluster to boost the local industry and provide more opportunities to start-up production companies. NECHH is an industry facing co-production and development initiative that offers a safe space for fledgling companies, writers, performers, directors and producers. By working directly with broadcasters and larger Indies in this new co-commissioning model, NECHH is able to provide a new talent pipeline via a safe pair of hands by taking overall responsibility for practical delivery and a level of editorial quality. Since launching in September 2019, NECHH has secured over £100,000 worth of entry level broadcast commissions, collaborated with seven start-up production companies, provided employment opportunities to over 160 regional cast and crew, and kept 96% of the total spend in the North East.

Colin Bell, Business Growth Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said,

“The Cluster Development Fund was launched during the pandemic to provide assistance to clusters in our region impacted by COVID-19; providing the necessary support for sectors to recover. The success of North East Comedy Hot House is a great example of the fund in action.

“Thanks to the investment from the North East LEP, Gateshead-based MOTIF was able to pitch for and win a significant BBC commission, helping raise the profile of the region’s film and television sector.

“The Cluster Development Fund is supporting TV, film and production companies in the region to think big and create a sustainable industry in the North East that can create jobs and opportunities for those working in the creative sectors. By investing in the talent that exists in our region, we can retain and benefit from those valuable skills.”

Speaking of the support she received, Emma Roxburgh said,

Since my involvement with NECHH I’ve felt incredibly well supported and have been given space to play, learn and grow. Producing two of the Laugh Lessons and directing one, enabled me to really use my previous script development skills.

“It has been great working with regional writer/performer talent on their first broadcast credit alongside outstanding regional crew, and I can’t wait to see more North East talent coming through and smashing it.”

Alison Gwynn, CEO of NFM said,

“It’s been great to witness the impact of the project, with both Motif and Emma Roxburgh now developing bigger broadcast projects.

“This is only just the start. There is so much more in the pipeline, and we wouldn’t have been able to have achieved this without the support from the North East LEP.”

NECHH is in a really strong position heading into the later stages of 2021, with a strong network of North East businesses and agencies all focused on broadcast comedy development. There is also an exciting new partnership with an award-winning production company to uncover more North East talent and products ready to break into national and global markets.

To view each of the five Laugh Lessons, click the links below.

How We Ruined The Internet

Coke, Weed and Bananas: A Guide To Drugs Today

First World Problems Of A Influencer

Becoming a Karen

5 Signs You’re Becoming A P.R*C.K

NE Comedy Hot House wins ‘Initiative to Grow Local Industry’ at Makers & Shakers awards

Posted on by Victoria Glass
We’re thrilled to announce that our North East Comedy Hot House project has taken home the award for Initiative to Grow Local Industry at the 2020 makers and shakers awards.

An initiative by The Location Guide, makers magazine and FOCUS, the makers & shakers awards celebrate excellence in global production. The awards aim to recognise and honour ground-breaking ideas and initiatives from players across the spectrum of the global creative screen industries.

The makers & shakers award is a great marker of success for the North East Comedy Hot House, for whom growing local industry is of the utmost importance. We are passionate about championing undiscovered comedy talent, supporting talent, building creative businesses, and connecting people, places, and projects to the best opportunities for their growth. Our project hopes to foster an explosion of Northern comedy voices onto international platforms, and this award proves that we are doing just that.

Executive Producer and co-founder of the NECHH, Emma Lawson, added: ‘It’s been such a privilege to work on a project that both invigorates and connects people. The North East has such a strong comedy community and important production industry, and I’m so thrilled that the work NECHH is doing showcases that to a national audience. I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved for winning an award that allows us to shout about our region and to mark the fun we’ve had so far. Thank you to Alison Gwynn, Northern Film + Media and everyone who has supported us this year!’.

Project Manager of the NECHH, Lisa Laws, said: ‘This award celebrates what happens when you’re inclusive. We’ve loved bringing together new voices, passionate local indies, and talented cast & crew to produce great, funny content for national broadcasters, create good vibes and put our region’s talent on the map. We can’t wait for the next phase of NECHH development’.

Chief Executive Officer of Northern Film + Media, Alison Gwynn, said: ‘It is a huge honour to be recognised by the makers & shakers awards, especially since the project is still in its infancy and we beat off major national and international competition. We are incredibly excited about the future of our North East Comedy Hot House and look forward to watching it make an impact on both local industry and international platforms’.