Category: Comedy Hot House

New funded development opportunity

Posted on by North East Screen
North East Screen announce a new funded development opportunity for North East based comedy talent, plus a BBC Comedy event in Newcastle.

An exciting opportunity is being offered to comedy writers, performers, producers and directors by North East Screen and BBC Comedy to develop talent in the region.

The NE Screen Comedy Hot House have devised a scheme that offers funds to six comedy creatives to help them develop their television ideas. Each chosen creator will receive £1000 as well as development support and an introduction to production companies, ahead of pitching their ideas to BBC Comedy for feedback.

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

“This is a first of its kind opportunity for North East comedy creators ready to burst onto comedy platforms. We are looking to champion six people and support them to get their ideas ready to pitch to the BBC.”

For more information and to apply for the fund click here

To support and inspire applications to the funded development opportunity, the NE Screen Comedy Hot House will be hosting Cracking the Comedy Codes – a day of panels featuring comedy industry experts.

The event on Thursday 13th October with industry experts, will centre discussions around short films, audio, and the development of comedy characters for screen. Featured guests include Simon Mayhew-Archer (This Country), Rupert Majendie (Brian and Charles, Pls Like), Kirk Flash (This is Gay), Julia McKenzie (BBC Radio4 Comedy Commissioner) and more!

Cracking the Comedy Codes ( will take place at the Stand, Newcastle 1-5pm where you will also have the chance to meet some of the BBC Comedy commissioning team.

BBC City of Comedy 2022

As part of Newcastle’s tenure as the first BBC City of Comedy, the region hosted the first ever BBC Comedy Festival, bringing the entire UK comedy production sector to the North East. At the event we announced our flagship Regional Partnership Scheme, fast tracking regional company Sea & Sky Productions to co-develop a slate of TV series ideas for BBC Comedy with Hat Trick Productions. The creator development fund is part of a wider range of engaging outreach events, profiling some of the UKs best talent, ensuring our comedy community is inspired and enabling our regions comedy scene to thrive.


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.

Women X Industry Panel

Posted on by North East Screen

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.

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!

Tiger Aspect Producer Development Training

Posted on by North East Screen
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.


North East LEP supported comedy is ready to make you laugh

Posted on by North East Screen
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

We’ve partnered with the North East LEP. Introducing SIZZLE

Posted on by North East Screen
We are so excited to announce our breakthrough partnership with the North East LEP

Our North East Comedy Hot House project has been granted funds to develop the region’s comedy sector through our newly-created SIZZLE programme, a six month support programme working with SMEs, emerging comedy development producers and fresh comedy talent.

What’s on offer?

The SIZZLE programme has three phases of support including

  1. Business development
  2. Professional development
  3. Pitch deck support

Phase 1


Connecting business leaders & SMEs working in comedy production across digital platforms, to each other and to business and industry experts to support business growth.

Who is Phase 1 for?

We’re looking for ambitious individuals keen to grow their business and play their part in driving forward the region’s production of quality comedy content across digital platforms. A passion for comedy is super important!

Participants should be business owners or have a business leadership role in a company that employs staff or freelancers. They should currently work in the broadcast, digital, and/or comedy sector, or if not, must prove a keen interest in branching into these sectors. They must also be based in the North East LEP area.

North East Comedy Hot House Webinar: Comedy Characters with Daisy May Cooper

Posted on by North East Screen
Thursday 30 July, 8pm – 9pm

Join us as we chat to Daisy May Cooper, co-creator and star of BBC Three’s This Country, about finding the funny in everyday life, creating comedy characters and keeping the laughs flowing in lockdown.

We’ll also be asking her for some of the juicy top tips she’s gleaned through her TV journey and what she’s squeezed out of producers and commissioners through her Instagram Live lockdown sessions.

Daisy May Cooper is the winner of the 2018 BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for playing Kerry Mucklowe in the BBC Three series This Country, which she co-created and co-wrote with her brother, Charlie Cooper. Her film appearances include The Personal History of David Copperfield and Sky Comedy Shorts: Susan Wokoma’s Love the Sinner.

And, of course, she is the ex-girlfriend of The Sea Captain.

Register through Eventbrite here. You will receive an emailed link to the Zoom event 24 hours beforehand.

For more information about this event, contact

This event is supported by Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley ERDF project. Places are free but limited. You must have a Tees Valley base, be over 18yrs and be eligible to access SME support.

Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley Screen project is funded by the ERDF through Creative Industries Business Support and Development Programme 2014-20, which is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. Additional funding support for this project is from Tees Valley Combined Authority and Arts Council England.

North East Comedy Hot House Webinar: Producing Comedy with Spencer Millman

Posted on by North East Screen
Tuesday 14th July, 11am-12pm

Spencer Millman is a hugely experienced television and film producer, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the comedy industry and produced multi-award-winning TV shows.

Prior to setting up his company he produced The Inbetweeners 2, which was the highest-grossing film of 2014 in the UK. He has also produced 6 series of the multi-BAFTA and British Comedy Award-winning Harry Hill’s TV Burp (“the freshest and most original show on mainstream television”, The Guardian), all 3 series of the Broadcast award-winning and BAFTA, British Comedy Award, and Royal Television Society Award-nominated Bo Selecta, the RTS Award-winning series The Mighty Boosh, Man to Man with Dean Learner, Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show, Daisy Does America for TBS and Greg Davies’ Man Down.

This is a relaxed and interactive Zoom session. We invite you to have your camera on, if you’re comfortable, or feel free to just watch if you prefer! Please keep your mic muted until asking questions. Register through Eventbrite here. You will receive an emailed link to the Zoom event 24 hours beforehand.

For more information about this event, contact

This event is supported by Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley ERDF project. Places are free but limited. You must have a Tees Valley base, be over 18yrs and be eligible to access SME support.

Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley Screen project is funded by the ERDF through Creative Industries Business Support and Development Programme 2014-20, which is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. Additional funding support for this project is from Tees Valley Combined Authority and Arts Council England.

North East Comedy Hot House Webinar: Directing comedy with Tom Marshall

Posted on by North East Screen
Thursday 28th May, 5pm-6pm
Want to direct comedy? Ever wondered what it’s like to direct Netflix comedy?

Join us as we chat to Tom Marshall, comedy director, to find out how he got from self-funded short films in Middlesbrough to directing for Netflix in LA. Hear his top tips for capturing comedy on screen.

Our North East Comedy Hot House team will be teasing out some insights into what opportunities made a difference at key points in his career and how directing shorts, TV series, sketch shows at all budget levels is actually like. Hear his top tips for capturing the comedy at every budget level.

Tom Marshall has shot self-funded shorts, directed Young OffendersFamalam, Netflix series Space Force with Steve Carell, as well as an Apple original.

This webinar will be shown via Zoom. Register through Eventbrite here. You will receive an emailed link to the Zoom event 24 hours beforehand.

For more information about this event, contact

This event is supported by Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley ERDF project. Places are free but limited. You must have a Tees Valley base, be over 18yrs and be eligible to access SME support.

Northern Film + Media’s Tees Valley Screen project is funded by the ERDF through Creative Industries Business Support and Development Programme 2014-20, which is bringing over £300m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. Additional funding support for this project is from Tees Valley Combined Authority and Arts Council England.