The Creative Cities Convention is unveiling what could be its strongest schedule yet as speakers from across the film and TV landscape prepare to discuss the record-breaking growth of the screen sector across the UK.

The convention’s stakeholders are the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5/Paramount and Pact, all of whom have been partners since the event was founded in 2018 as a platform for the many thousands of people who now work in the rapidly growing screen sector outside London.

The CCC visits a different UK creative city each year and this time it’s the turn of Newcastle, where the production sector is flourishing across the wider North East of England, reflecting major infrastructure investment and increased network commissions in places such as Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Gateshead and Durham. These areas have joined forces to create the North East Screen Industries Partnership under the auspices of North East Screen.

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive at North East Screen, said: ‘We’re at a pivotal time in the growth of the screen industry in the North East so there couldn’t be a better time for CCC to be welcomed to the region. The team have secured an exceptional line up of speakers and we’re delighted to be involved to showcase the opportunities and talent here in the North East.’

John McVay CEO of Pact said: ‘The continuing mission of the CCC to highlight and celebrate the UK’s diverse TV talent will help accelerate development in the North East of England as it has done for so many other regions and cities.’

As always the CCC focus is on network production. CCC director Ruth Pitt said: ‘We need this event now more than ever as producers, broadcasters, educators, trainers and public and private investors wrestle with how to provide the talent, facilities and infrastructure needed to keep pace with the rapid growth of the film and TV sector in all four nations of the UK. We provide the ideal platform for people to learn, share and network for mutual benefit.’

Conference sessions and speakers featured over two days will resonate with producers, writers, broadcasters, freelancers, policymakers, academics and students from all four corners of the UK.

‘As huge champions of the nations and regions, the CCC sits right in our sweet spot, celebrating the great and good of the production industry outside of the London metropolis, whilst also providing a platform for further prosperity and growth,’ Paramount UK’s Chief of Content Ben Frow commented. ‘I’m looking forward to my trip to Newcastle this year, especially given the North East is currently pulling in our biggest regional audience, and answering all of those burning and topical questions I know people are eager to ask – please don’t be afraid to do so!’  

Some of the most exciting names in British drama will explain what it takes to capture the authentic voice of the nation on screen – Nicola Shindler from Quay Street Productions (part of ITV Studios), Channel 4’s Head of Drama Caroline Hollick, scripted supremo John Yorke and rising star screenwriter Amit Dhand.

Creating a big returning factual brand remains the holy grail for producers outside London. Among those offering advice are BBC Commissioner Daytime and Early Peak Helen Munson and TV favourite Robson Green, presenter of Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes.

The conference is committed to providing insights and informed debate around the growth of the screen sector outside London. Big names include BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore and Director of Nations Rhodri Talfan Davies, Chief Content Officer UK Paramount Ben Frow, Pact CEO John McVay OBE, Channel 4’s MD of Nations and Regions Sinead Rocks, ITV Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion Ade Rawcliffe and 5 News Editor Cait FitzSimons. ITV’s Controller of Popular Factual Jo Clinton Davis and UKTV’s Director of Commissioning Hilary Rosen will bring their insights to the future of factual television and Ubisoft CEO Lisa Opie will explain why she moved from television to the games industry.

A new guest at Creative Cities this year is Argonon CEO James Burstall, whose newly published book The Flexible Method: Prepare to Prosper in the Next Global Crisis will challenge delegates to re-think how their businesses can survive future world challenges.

The conference will also consider how the screen industry can be a kinder and fairer place to work, and a stunning line-up of experts will assess the impact of multi-million pound studios growth across the UK. Comedy gets a big shout-out with a session featuring Hat Trick’s Jimmy Mulville and Emma Lawson, who’s Commissioning Editor BBC Comedy, along with newcomer Adam Bouabda.

More names including some celebrity figures continue to be added to the conference, which will feature a big networking party kindly sponsored by Banijay UK on Weds evening 26th April.

Delegates will also be able to book a short pitching session with a wide range of commissioners from all the Creative Cities Convention’s stakeholders.

Finally, student masterclasses will as always be delivered locally, this year at Teesside University and open to students from across the region.

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