Chatterbox, the acclaimed BAFTA-winning production company behind hit TV series Meet the Khans and Charlotte in Sunderland, has announced the establishment of a new Northern headquarters, known as Natterbox, in Gateshead.
The Brighton-based company has moved into offices in Gateshead’s state-of-the-art digital production facility, PROTO, alongside a host of other TV production and immersive technology companies, with plans to create 10 new job opportunities in the North East.
This move builds on the continued growth of the screen sector in the region following the formation of the public sector-led North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP) and the BBC’s commitment to commission a minimum of £25m programming spend over the next 5 years.
Operating as Natterbox, the team hopes to harness the unique potential and cultural richness of North East England, shining a spotlight on some of Britain’s most stunning landscapes and attracting new commissioning spend to the area.
Natterbox is also looking to foster local talent through the creation of new apprenticeships and training programmes, providing fresh routes into the television industry and empowering aspiring creatives in the North East to pursue their passion for production.
The female-led team regards diversity of thought as integral to its DNA and wants to nurture the next generation of creative talent through early career mentoring and guidance, creating jobs for local residents.
Natterbox was founded by former Channel 4 Factual Entertainment Commissioning Editor, Nav Raman, and experienced Director and Producer, Ali Quirk, whose credits include Gogglebox, Come Dine With Me, Lion Country, Sky Cops and Gold Rush.
Nav Raman, Founder and Executive Producer, Natterbox, said: “Our mission is to collaborate with the best creative talent in the country, both on and off screen, to produce bold, entertaining and compelling content for major platforms and broadcasters.
“Launching Natterbox in the North East will not only help us do that, it will allow us to join an exciting ecosystem of incredible businesses who are at the forefront of innovation in all aspects of screen entertainment.”
Natterbox brings an impressive track record of producing hit shows such as Meet the Khans, Extraordinary Portraits, Sally Lindsay’s Posh Weekends and of course, Charlotte in Sunderland.
BBC Three has just announced a second season of the hit show, which follows TV personality Charlotte Crosby, as she looks to settle down in North East England after making a name for herself with appearances on Geordie Shore, Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here.
The programme’s first season averaged 300,000 viewers (28 day/4Screen) and generated 448,000 engagements via social media with a combined total of 36m impressions.
Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Business Development, North East Screen, said: “We’re delighted to see Natterbox invest in the North East and further strengthen the vibrant screen industry we have here in the region. Natterbox bring great expertise in unscripted TV and we look forward to working more closely with Nav, Ali and the team to provide further opportunities to regional crew and trainees.
“It’s an exciting time to invest in the North East with the launch of the North East Production Fund strengthening our Film Office support, which is already attracting major feature films and TV productions such as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves, The Red King and Vera; alongside the FulwellCain plans forging ahead to build one of Europe’s largest film studios, Crown Works Studios, in the North East creating over 8,000 jobs.”
Working closely with North East Screen and Gateshead Council, Invest Newcastle, part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, supported the Chatterbox team with their move to the North East, helping to identify suitable premises for their new headquarters and showcasing the thriving digital cluster on both sides of the River Tyne.
Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle, said: “The screen industry is emerging as a significant driver of investment, place transformation and new opportunities in our region, which should give confidence to Nav and Ali that they are establishing their new headquarters in the right place.
“It’s been a pleasure working with the Natterbox team on securing their move to the North East and we look forward to helping them take advantage of the fantastic creative talent on offer.”
Cllr Malcolm Brain, Cabinet Member for Economy, Gateshead Council, said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Natterbox to Gateshead, they join a thriving hub of creatives who work within all aspects of the screen industry.
“Over the years we’ve invested into the screen industry with our facilities at PROTO, behind the four walls of the ‘black box’ there is a wealth of innovative technology which assists with the production of programmes and films.
“Combine the technology with a friendly North East welcome and the continued commitments from the BBC and Channel 4, I am sure we will see continued investment of other media companies to the borough.”