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

Posted on by North East Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Posted on by North East Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to sign up to the event.


Notes to Editors

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

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

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

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

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

All aboard the Hot House Comedy Shuttle!

Posted on by North East Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

An exclusive evening of conversation with David Puttnam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The event will begin at 7.30 pm.

Photo credit: Justin Walpole

We’re hiring a Talent & Professional Development Manager

Posted on by North East Screen

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Posted on by North East Screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Helen Munson, Commissioning Editor for BBC Daytime, says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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