Category: Talent and Business Development

TVCA Artists of the Year unveiled for 2024

Posted on by North East Screen

The talented artists to receive unique support and funding from a major new initiative driving forward the arts in Tees Valley have been revealed.  

Tees Valley Artists of the Year 2024 is a new scheme run by Tees Valley Combined Authority supporting five leading local artists, who will receive a career-changing £30,000 investment. 

The project is a bold new approach to develop the next generation of musicians, film-makers and writers and could provide a groundbreaking model for other areas. 

The successful artists were unveiled at The Globe Theatre, in Stockton, on Monday (20 May).   

They are Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Amelia Coburn; Darlington author Lisette Auton; Stockton-based visual artist Claire A Baker; theatre-maker Scott Turnbull and Stockton film-maker Andy Berriman. 

Each will receive a £30,000 package of support over a year, which includes a real-living wage bursary and a professional development budget.  

All five will also receive industry mentoring and tailored business support to take their creative career to the next level.  

Tees Valley Artists of the Year supports an ambition to develop the region as an engine room for creative artists and the successful artists were selected after competitive process involving panellists from the region’s leading cultural organisations, Arts Council England, and TVCA.  

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’ve got a great wealth of talent in our region, and we can all do more to shout it from the rooftops.  

“We’re putting the building blocks in place by working alongside the BBC, North East Screen and The Northern Studios, in Hartlepool – plus our investment in our Development Corporations in Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.  

“We want to help our brightest talents thrive and build their careers here – and this award is one part of that plan.”  

The five artists showed outstanding strength and quality in their field with the selection panel judging they were each at right point in their careers where the programme could make a tangible and sustainable difference. 

Charlie Kemp, Head of Creative Place at the Tees Valley Combined Authority, said: “We were utterly blown away the quality, mass and diversity of the applications we received – and it goes to show the incredible depth of creative talent we have in the Tees Valley. 

“It’s great to be working alongside the North team at Arts Council England and leaders in the arts in bringing this project to life. The Combined Authority, Tees Valley Business Board and the wider Tees Valley culture sector have a shared ambition to establish our region as one of the country’s engine rooms for creative production, and we’re striving to make it a fantastic and well-supported place to work.  

“We hope this funding can provide these great artists with the help and expertise they need to thrive, secure their futures, and take their careers to the next level.” 

Funding provided through the Artist of the Year comes via the UK Government and its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). 

Alison Gwynn, Creative Economy Lead for the Tees Valley Business Board and North East Screen Chief Executive, said: “A supported arts and culture scene is essential for nurturing local talent and creating vibrant careers. By investing in our creative industries, we ensure our region becomes a destination for talent, rivalling Manchester and London.” 

The award is part of a wider £20.5m programme of investment by the Combined Authority to grow the region’s creative and cultural industries and visitor economies. 

Jane Tarr, Director North, Arts Council England “We want the North to be a place where everyone can establish and sustain a creative career so it’s great to see the Tees Valley Combined Authority supporting artists at a key moment in their careers and helping with their business and professional development.  

“We were pleased to be involved in the panels for the five Artists of the Year and looking forward to seeing how the opportunity takes their creative journeys forward.”

Find out more about Artists of the Year here 

North East Screen joins calls of support for the CrownWorks Studio plan

Posted on by North East Screen

North East Screen, the regional screen agency for North East England, are fully supportive of the scale and ambition of the development of CrownWorks Studios, which would be a crucial game-changer for the region’s rapidly growing screen industry.

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of North East Screen, believes in making brave and ambitious decisions and plans for the region, with the studio development clearly being an ambitious plan.

On North East Screen support for the studio plan, Alison said: “Through the work delivered by North East Screen and the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) we are already delivering real results to grow the screen industry across the North East. Capital investment however, in a large studio would supercharge the region’s capacity to deliver a much broader range of international production across the whole year. We know we have the talent, skills, locations, and experience, building on the impact of activity that has already been developed and delivered across the region in the last two years. Now we need the infrastructure to make the industry more sustainable and create long-term jobs and opportunities.

“Since NESIP backed North East Screen to deliver a strategic five-year development project in 2020, production has risen 28% in the last year (bucking the national trend), and for every £1 invested by NESIP, up to £8 is being spent in the region creating well paid creative jobs. We will likely see these figures continue to rise across 2024 and 2025.

“The North East is very much open for, and delivering business. It is vital for the region to maintain this momentum in a very fast-moving sector. FulwelCain’s plans for CrownWorks Studios presents a phenomenal opportunity to capitalise on, and bring real change to the North East’s infrastructure, helping the region become one of the leading film and TV production hubs not only here in the UK, but globally.”

Newspapers and news websites from around the North East have also come together to call on the Government to provide financial support for the CrownWorks Studios plan.

A joint statement from regional editors Ross Robertson, Ian Arkle, Graeme Whitfield, Helen Dalby, Sophie Barley and Gavin Foster said: “The CrownWorks Studios plan has the potential to be transformational for Sunderland and the wider North East. It could be the catalyst for growth in the North East creative industries in the same way that the Nissan plant was for the car industry 40 years ago.

“FulwellCain have developed a plan that has the backing of the whole region, as well as key players in the film and TV world.

“We felt it was only right that the regional media unite our voices to demonstrate the depth of that support in every corner of the North East. Politicians of all parties have supported the plans but now is the time for the Government to provide the financial support to back up those warm words.

“The CrownWorks plan is levelling up in action and an opportunity that cannot be squandered.”

Teesside to Stateside – Airport doubles as NYC in new romantic comedy feature film  

Posted on by North East Screen

A romantic comedy which sees Teesside International Airport stand in for New York International Airport will hit screens on Friday (February 9). 

Upgraded is the latest movie to be filmed in Tees Valley and comes to Prime Video this week.  

Secret shooting took place at the airport in August 2022, and saw Teesside transformed into “New York International Airport”. 

Upgraded sees Camila Mendes star as Ana – an ambitious intern dreaming of a career in the art world while trying to impress her demanding boss Claire (Marisa Tomei).  

When she’s upgraded to first class on a work trip, she meets handsome Will (Archie Renaux), who mistakes Ana for her boss – a white lie that sets off a glamorous chain of events, romance and opportunity, until her fib threatens to surface. 

The Amazon Original movie is directed by Carlson Young. Lead Camila Mendes and Spider-man: Homecoming actress Marisa Tomei were among the cast who filmed at Teesside Airport. 

Filming took place in just a day and saw the airport terminal signs and luggage trolleys changed to black and yellow “New York International Airport” while famous yellow New York taxis pulled up outside the entrance. 

Check-in desks and digital displays were also converted to the fictional “Sovereign Air” airline which appears in the movie. 

The shooting followed weeks of negotiations between the film’s production team and Teesside Airport staff to ensure filming went off without a hitch while the airport continued to fully operate. 

Teesside International Airport Managing Director Phil Forster said: “We were delighted to welcome the cast and crew of Upgraded to Teesside Airport and it’s fantastic to see our airport in the finished film. 

“We know our airport is a great location for our passengers and the fact that we can stand in as New York in a major Hollywood film shows how far we have come in transforming our terminal building into a modern and vibrant place from which even the stars want to travel.” 

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We know we have superb locations for filming across Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington and it’s great that Teesside Airport is now also firmly on that list. 

“Our airport was once a crumbling, failing business but in just the past year we have enjoyed the best passenger numbers in more than a decade, been named UK and Ireland Airport of the Year and are now starring in major movies.” 

Upgraded is the latest feature film shot in the Tees Valley and comes as major drive to grow the thriving local film and TV industry continues. 

Filming was supported by the North East England screen agency North East Screen. 

North East Screen Operations Director Gayle Woodruffe said: The North East is home to a diverse array of world-class locations, all of which have their own unique versatility which can be easily adapted to the needs of the production filming.  

 “Seeing Teesside Airport transform into New York International Airport shows this at its best, and it is a real asset in our North East locations portfolio.” 

North East film and TV production increased 28% in 2023, and Upgraded is the fourth time in 2024 that Tees Valley locations have appeared on screen, following feature film JACKDAW and ITV dramas, After the Flood and Vera, with further in the pipeline for the rest of the year. 

Upgraded is available to watch on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide from Friday, 9 February. The trailer is available here.

For filming opportunities at Teesside International Airport contact enquiries@teessideinternational.com.

Three North East Indies win their first BBC daytime TV commission 

Posted on by North East Screen

Three North East Indies are entering 2024 with a bang having won their first BBC daytime commission that will see them create inserts for BBC’s popular daytime show, Morning Live. 

Wander Films (Middlesbrough), Sea & Sky Pictures (Hartlepool), and Second Draft (Sunderland), were all successful with their pitch ideas and will now have their northern stories shown to a national audience. All three indies have been working closely with North East Screen over the last four years through a range of programmes and activities to support them becoming reputable broadcast-winning companies. 

North East Screen’s Development Director, Lisa Laws, believes this is just the beginning of the broadcast journey for these indies. She said, 

“It’s great to see the hard work of Wander, Sea & Sky and Second Draft paying dividends at last given the challenging commissioning climate we are in. So this is a real win not only for them, but for the North East. 

“This shows that our North East-based indies have built strong relationships with commissioners to really understand what audiences want and expect from a show like Morning Live.  

“This first step into broadcast is crucial for company growth, and I can’t wait to see what they deliver! Exciting times ahead!” 

The commission opportunity has been led by BBC Daytime and Early Peak Commissioning Editor, Helen Munson, who is based in the North East. She said, 

“This is a really exciting opportunity to build on and develop key relationships with indies based in the North East. I know there is such a wealth of talent here and I’m really looking forward to working with them more.” 

Chloe Clover, Co Founder and CEO of Wander Films said,

“We presented five topical stories with positive messages. It was crucial that the ideas were unique yet in line with the Morning Live house style. We’re buzzing that the commissioners loved our angles, and we are now in production for TV!” 

Lou Brannon, Development Co-Ordinator at Sea & Sky Pictures said,  

“We’re over the moon to have been chosen for this opportunity to contribute to Morning Live on BBC One. We’d like to thank North East Screen and the BBC for allowing us to build on our previous successes with The BBC’s Small Indie Fund 2023 and North East Voices initiatives.  

“Our films will cover varied topics such as ways to combat loneliness and litter picking, and will give advice, inspiration and hopefully start conversations across the nation.” 

 
Mark Stuart Bell, Producer/Director at Second Draft said,  

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside the BBC’s flagship morning programme. We have a real affection for the warmth and optimism that Morning Live creates, and we hope that our film brings attention to the concerning issue of malnutrition in the UK, but also leaves the audience feeling inspired by the story of one ordinary woman’s mission to solve this crisis.” 

Morning Live is BBC One’s flagship daytime magazine show broadcast live from their Manchester-based studio, averaging over 1.2 million viewers. Since the new year, the show has been extended to 75 minutes from 45 minutes and strengthened its pool of on-screen presenters to include Cumbrian Helen Skelton. 

Shudder Films set up North East base prior to premiering latest feature at Sundance Film Festival

Posted on by North East Screen

Newcastle-based Shudder Films, are set to light up the international film market as they premiere their latest feature film at the internationally renowned Sundance Film Festival, which begins 18th January. 

Regional screen agency, North East Screen, have supported Shudder Films through their Reach programme to employ a development producer who will scout for talent and drive their activity in the North East, with the team also heading stateside to Sundance Film Festival, a key launch pad for some of the world’s best breakthrough feature films. 

KNEECAP, which shot in Ireland last year, is the story of the hip and naughty Irish language rap group, Kneecap. The film features the rap trio in lead roles, with Simone Kirby (His Dark Materials, Hidden Assets, Peaky Blinders, Jimmy’s Hall) and Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, Inglorious Basterds, Shame, Steve Jobs) co-staring.  

Shudder Films is an acclaimed independent film company, led by BAFTA-nominated and BIFA winning producer Jack Tarling, that has had previous success with critically acclaimed films such as Gods Own Country.  

Jack has a long-term affinity with the North East, having studied at Northumbria University and regularly speaks at regional NFTS and broadcast events. He said,  

“We’re excited to be working with Dermot O’Dempsey as our first point of contact for North East talent and stories. I lived in Newcastle for 12 years and look forward to further strengthening our links and bringing new productions to the region and doing more work with local talent.” 

Lisa Laws, North East Screen’s Development Director said,  

“It’s great to be able to support an award-winning company like Shudder Films to strengthen their base in the North East. They have an outstanding track record at major international festivals.  

“We’re looking forward to seeing how Jack and his team bring their ambitious energy to the North East, providing another home for our local talent to develop creative and ground-breaking content.” 

North East Screen supported Shudder Films to both strengthen their marketing and distribution strategy, and create a new development post through the Reach programme. Reach is aimed at commercially and critically acclaimed companies (both production and supply chain) wishing to develop and diversify their products and services in order to win investment and create jobs within the region. So far, almost £120,000 has been invested in regional companies, with the latest round of funding currently accepting applications. To find out how you and your business can be supported in the North East screen industry, contact the Business Development team: talent@northeastscreen.org

Four North East indies selected for the BBC’s Small Indie Fund 2024 

Posted on by North East Screen

The BBC has announced that four North East based indies will be supported through their £1.5m Small Indie Fund, providing a huge boost for the screen sector in the region. 

Candle & Bell (Gateshead), MCC Media (Sunderland), Schnoobert Productions (Newcastle) and Wander Films (Middlesbrough) will all receive strategic investment and regular mentoring from a BBC commissioning editor.  

The £1.5m Fund was launched in 2020 to support the development of small independent production companies with turnovers below £10m across Drama, Entertainment, Comedy, Factual, Daytime, Children’s, and this year, BBC Film. 

North East Screen’s Development Director, Lisa Laws, said: 

“Once again, our North East based indies are making an impression with the BBC, and it’s great to see these four companies winning BBC Small Indie Fund Awards. This award will provide them with the time to build and strengthen relationships with commissioners and get a real understanding of BBC Daytime, Peak-time or Comedy audiences to hone their pitches and improve chances of winning commission opportunities.  

“We are seeing the impact on the companies who were recipients last year: some have either moved into paid development or have won commissions thanks to the support they received.” 

Jason Cook, Founder of Schnoobert Productions, based in Newcastle, said:  

“We are over the moon to once again be selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. Last year’s fund was so vital in our growth as a company and we are looking forward to working closely with BBC Comedy to keep this (slightly unsteady) rocket on trajectory together.” 

Maria Caruana Galizia, Producer and Managing Director of Candle & Bell said: 

“We’re very grateful to the BBC for their investment in Candle & Bell. It’s great to be working with Emma Lawson [BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor] and the BBC Comedy team for a second year in a row. Being recipients of the Small Indie Fund last year opened many doors for us, so we’re looking forward to building on the successes of 2023 which included two script commissions and an audio commission. We’re hoping for a bigger and better 2024!” 

Lou Tonner, Co-Founder of Wander Films said:  

“We are stoked to be selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. This is an incredible opportunity for Wander to continue to grow. We’ve had a few cool wins over the past couple of months and it’s class to have the BBC on our side! We owe a huge thanks to the guys at North East Screen for providing us access to such a strong support network.” 

Paul McCoy, CEO of MCC Media said: 

“MCC Media are delighted to have been selected for the BBC Small Indie Fund. This helps to further cement our relationship with the BBC as we start working more on the factual side as well as kids and family. We hope that this opportunity will help our growth plans for 2024, and for what is gearing up to be a busy year for the North East production scene and beyond.” 

North East Screen provides support to regional based independent production companies, as well as those looking to set up a North East base, through a variety of programmes to help them develop their products and services. For more information about these programmes, contact the Talent and Business Development: talent@northeastscreen.org  

UK Premiere of Jackdaw to take place in the North East

Posted on by North East Screen

The star-studded UK premiere of British action thriller JACKDAW, the feature film debut of North East-born writer-director Jamie Childs (The Sandman, Willow, His Dark Materials), will take place at the Showcase Cinema de Lux Teesside in Stockton-on-Tees on 24 January 2024.

Childs will be joined on the red carpet by the film’s stars including Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Invisible Man, Emily, The Haunting of Hill House) Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, The Sandman, Victoria), Thomas Turgoose (Creation Stories, The Gallows Pole, This is England) and North East actor Joe Blakemore (The Third Day).

In addition to the premiere, there will also be a special paid public preview screening of the film in tandem with the premiere screening so members of the public in the region can come along and be part of the evening. Tickets for this unique premiere preview can be booked HERE, audiences are advised to book early to avoid disappointment. 

JACKDAW was shot on location in the North East of England in Hartlepool and the Tees Valley, around sites including Seal Sands, Nunthorpe, Redcar and the North Sea, filming against the backdrop of the region’s breathtaking coastlines and dramatic industrial landscapes. It also utilised The Northern Film and TV Studios, the North East’s only large-scale film and TV production facility. The film has seen significant investment from The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and the North East Production Fund, delivered by regional screen agency North East Screen on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), as part of their ambitious plans to make the region one of the UK’s leading film and TV production hubs.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director for North East Screen, said: “We’re delighted to support the UK premiere of Jackdaw at the Showcase Cinema de Lux Teesside. It’s right on the doorstep of all the amazing Tees Valley locations that were used in the film, so is very fitting.

“Supporting ambitious, world-class local talent like Jamie Childs is integral to the work we are doing to make the North East one of the leading UK film hubs where regional folk can live, create and work.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It’ll be fantastic to welcome the cast and crew of Jackdaw to Teesside for the star-studded premiere this month and I’m certain this event will be a great celebration of our growing local film industry. 

“We know our area has superb locations for TV and film productions and the success of Jackdaw shows how our investment in the North East Screen Industries Partnership is paying dividends in creating jobs and developing skills.”  

Writer/Director Jamie Childs said: “I can’t wait to bring Jackdaw up to the North East for its UK premiere, and celebrate it with the rambunctious Northern souls who made it all possible.”

My North East with Denise Welch

Posted on by Jennifer Kinnersley

Born in Cullercoats, actor and presenter Denise Welch has a long history with the North East. She has starred in some of the region’s most iconic shows such as Byker Grove, Spender and Soldier Soldier, and is a regular panellist on the ITV chat show Loose Women.

Last year, she took some time out of her busy schedule to take the road less travelled with Robson Green for his hit BBC Two show Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes. We spoke to Denise to find out more about her career, the region, and the future of the North East screen industry.

How did you get your start in the industry?

When I was about 15 at school in Consett, I discovered the drama group and school plays. It was like in cartoons when a light bulb goes off above someone’s head.

Then once I’d finished school, I went to drama school on my Dad’s encouragement. I didn’t think it could be a career, but I went anyway. For about the first 10 years after drama school, I did mostly theatre. Some of my first shows were with the Live Theatre company in the North East. They are absolutely brilliant, and they of course spawned my ex-husband’s [Tim Healy] career as well. It was also through them that I first met Robson. When I was in my mid-twenties, I saw Robson in a play by CP Taylor and I said to Max the director “Oh my God, he’s amazing!”

After that time, I worked all over the place, but the Live theatre was very important to my formative years career-wise.

What inspired you to consider a career in the screen industry?

Well, I struggled in school, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t capable, it was just because I was quite lazy academically and nothing ever inspired me. I loved school, I loved all the boys and chatting with my mates on the radiators and all of that, but I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do. Then my drama teacher, for some reason, saw something in me and asked me to be in the school play. It was like a revelation that I was actually good at something! You know, when the headmaster calls you into his room to congratulate you on a performance rather than telling you off for being naughty! So that’s when I first became inspired, but I was still considering going to a teacher training college at that point. I would have been a terrible teacher! But as I say, it was my Dad and my drama teacher who encouraged me to go to drama school. And when I eventually got there, I was in the complete minority as a lot of parents had said don’t go to drama school, be a teacher. I was lucky to be encouraged.

What’s your favourite memory from working on set in the North East?

That’s quite a big question as I’ve done a lot in the North East. I think one of my most prevalent memories is trying to teach Ant and Dec maths on the set of Byker Grove. And I can’t do maths. So subsequently, in the late nineties when they came on as surprise guests for my episode of This Is Your Life, they said that the reason they had to keep going as entertainers was because they were going to fail their exams as I’d taught them! They did have chaperones on the show, but because there were so many kids on that show, sometimes if some of the other actors had downtime, we would help the kids with their homework. So, Donna Air, Jill Halfpenny and Ant and Dec can all blame me for failing maths!

This time filming Weekend Escapes with Robson was lovely as I hadn’t been to that part of the North East for many years, and I also hadn’t seen Robson for a long time as well. Simply because lives just happen and take you apart from each other for no other reason than geography. As I say at the end of the programme, I never thought I’d be lying on a grassy nell having a sound bath with Robson Green!

It was lovely to reconnect. We forgot we were going to be on the telly. It was such a lovely day and a great reminder that a day out in the country with a friend can be medicine if you’re feeling a bit low.

What’s your favourite part of the region and why?

I would have to say Cullercoats and Tynemouth because that’s where I was born. My family had a house on Beverly Terrace looking over Cullercoats Bay and that’s where my earliest memories are.

Whenever I feel low or if I’ve not been very well, I’ll just go and spend time in that area. It’s incredibly soothing for me.

When Dad was poorly, a couple of years before we lost him, Lincoln would drive me to the coast when we were up visiting him, and I would just spend time having fish and chips in the cafes and walking along the coast. There’s just something about that part of the region that evokes incredibly happy childhood memories for me.

In Weekend Escapes, Robson takes the road less travelled and shines a light on some of the region’s hidden gems. What’s your North East hidden gem?

Where my sister lives in Headly on the Hill, there’s a pub called The Feathers Inn. I’m not a pub person, especially not in the last 11 years as I’ve been sober, but it’s the best pub. You know the phrase it takes a village? The way that village rally around each other, to me it’s how a community in the North East should be. It’s the way that they looked after my sister when my Dad died, the way that the pub has the best food and the best people. If they know you’re struggling, someone will put a casserole on your doorstep. It’s a wonderful North East community. It’s an absolutely gorgeous area. It’s basically the pub and that’s it, but the walks around there are great and it’s a lovely place to visit.

What do you think makes the North East unique?

The people. Without a shadow of a doubt. Our region is beautiful but there are a lot of beautiful areas in the United Kingdom. Whenever anyone I know goes to the North East for work or pleasure or just passing through, everyone says that it’s the people. It’s only when you live away that you realise there’s nobody like the people from the North East, there just aren’t. They’re a breed apart. That’s what makes it the most special place on Earth.

What are your aspirations for the future of the North East screen industry? What kind of content would you like to see being made here?

Stories from new voices. Years and years ago there was a project at Tyne Tees, I think it was called New Voices, and it was basically like what Live Theatre do to develop new writers, and I think we need something like that again in our region. This is a really hard industry and it’s particularly hard for young actors, playwrights, and musicians to get their start. There are some brilliant people out there but now sadly I feel it’s all about Instagram followings and the number of views on TikTok. I do understand and if I was a commercial boss, I would think the same, but I fear we’re losing talent because of it. I think there’s a real importance in developing new voices and new talent and giving them somewhere to grow.

On the other side of this, we also need to look at some of our more mature talent and give a voice to those stories, especially for women. You’re not invisible when you’re over fifty and older women still have sex lives. They don’t have to play grandmas and great grandmas.

Series 2 of Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes is available to stream on BBC iPlayer

Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes series 2 to air on New Year’s Day

Posted on by North East Screen

TV star Robson Green meets a new set of famous guests in this refreshing second series as they discover the roads less travelled and immerse themselves in the great outdoors.

Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes showcases the North’s breath-taking landscapes, cultural heritage, and wealth of activities that are perfect for the mind and body.

Set against the backdrop of some of the UK’s most stunning scenery, this new BBC series is the perfect tonic to chase away the winter blues and will see Robson, along with family and some famous friends, appreciating a slower pace of life.

On each journey, Robson tries an outdoor activity with a different famous face as they share their favourite memories from places close to their hearts across the North East, Cumbria, Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders.

From former footballer Shola Ameobi, celebrity wine enthusiast Olly Smith, and TV personality Denise Welch, to actors Kevin Whately, Mark Benton and Tessa Peake Jones, they all join Robson for a weekend getaway they’ll never forget.

Across the series Robson hits the road in a traditional horse-drawn wagon, is in fits of giggles during laughing yoga, cruises down a canal on a narrowboat, puts his best foot forward while learning ballet in a field, and takes a scenic drive in a motorbike sidecar.

Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes has been produced by Signpost and Robson’s own production company River Meets Productions.

Commissioned by Helen Munson, the BBC’s Commissioning Editor for Daytime and Early Peak based in the North East, this 15-part series starts on Monday 1st January on BBC Two at 7pm, but subsequent episodes will be in the usual 6.30pm slot and will be stripped Mon-Fri.

BBC commission new documentary from Newcastle-based indie Northern Child starring Jordan North

Posted on by North East Screen

North East indie, Northern Child has won a BBC Three commission for a documentary to be filmed in Newcastle, featuring BBC Radio 1 presenter Jordan North.

What’s Really in Your Vape? (w/t) will see Jordan North front his first documentary as he explores the truth behind the UK’s vaping phenomenon.

The number of young people vaping has skyrocketed in recent years. Annual sales in the UK are now worth more than £1.3 billion.

But do we really know what’s inside these vapes? What are they made of, how are they made, and where? What chemicals go into the liquid? How much nicotine’s really in them? Which ones are sold legally, which ones aren’t?

As someone who uses vapes himself, Jordan North seeks answers to all of these questions. As well as meeting scientists performing cutting edge testing on vapes, and researchers looking at the possible long term effects of vaping, Jordan investigates the problem with illegal vapes in the UK. How big is the market? Where are they coming from? Who’s selling them? And just how dangerous might they be?

Jordan North says: “I’m really excited to be back on BBC Three, I’ve always wanted to make a documentary and I’m really interested in this subject, as a vaper myself I’m desperate to know what’s inside my vape!”

Andrew Eastel, Executive Producer says: “Vaping has become incredibly popular in the UK. Not just with those trying to quit smoking, and especially amongst younger people. So, it’s more important than ever for us to have a better understanding of what’s actually inside a vape; how they are made and where they come from, the types or brands of vapes that may pose a risk, and whether there could be longer term implications for the health of people who vape? Jordan is the ideal person to help us answer these questions. He’s naturally inquisitive and open-minded – without being preachy – and as someone who vapes himself, he has a vested interest in getting to the truth.”

Nasfim Haque, Head of Content of BBC Three says: “Jordan is the perfect guide for this fascinating and insightful new documentary as he takes a deep dive into the rapidly expanding phenomenon of vaping and showcases his findings to viewers on BBC Three and iPlayer.”

What’s Really in Your Vape? will be broadcast on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer in early 2024.

What’s Really in Your Vape? (1 x 30) is a Northern Child Production for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer produced from Newcastle. The Executive Producer is Andrew Eastel, the Producer is Katie Elliott and the programme will be Directed by Simon Rawles. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Mark Harrison for Current Affairs.