Tag: North East

Channel 4 announces support for three northern writers at New Writing North awards co-hosted by North East Screen

Posted on by North East Screen

Three emerging screenwriters from the North of England have been awarded Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards 2023 to support their development.

Each of the writers wins a £3000 bursary and a package of money-can’t-buy opportunities, including nine-month placements with independent production companies where they will develop original scripts, and mentoring with industry professionals.

The Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards were founded in 2014 as part of the Northern Writers’ Awards. They are funded by Channel 4 and produced by New Writing North, the writing development agency for the North of England. The Northern Writers’ Awards are England’s largest and longest-running writer development programme, supported by Northumbria University, Arts Council England and a range of partners.

The 2023 winners were announced on Thursday evening (21 September) at The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, at a celebration hosted with North East Screen, the North East’s regional screen agency which develops and nurtures homegrown talent including writers, producers and directors. The event was attended by writers and industry professionals from television and audio, and included a showcase of new writing talent from across the North.

Harriet Ghost, an actor-writer from Newcastle, will receive a nine-month programme of mentoring and support from the Leeds-based production company, Rollem Productions (The Syndicate; Fat Friends). Harriet trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and her acting credits include Ken Loach and ITV projects. She has written for the stage and in 2020 was selected for BFI’s Script Lab and received mentoring from Aisling Bea through the BAFTA Connects scheme supporting women in TV and film.

Joe McNally is a writer from Liverpool whose debut play ‘Cosmic’ was staged at Liverpool’s Royal Court theatre in April 2023. Joe holds a Masters in Screenwriting and is a graduate of both Liverpool’s Royal Court Stage Write Development Programme and Liverpool Everyman’s YEP writers’ programme. His award includes a nine-month placement with Bonafide Films (Mood; The Last Post), where he will develop an original script.

Liz Redwood, from Southport, won the Channel 4 Writing for Television Award: Lime Pictures. She will spend her placement on the production of Hollyoaks, where she will work with members of the core writing team and shadow the script development process.Liz has completed the Liverpool Royal Court’s Playwright Programme and the Liverpool Everyman’s Playwrights’ Programme. In 2020 she was shortlisted for the Kenneth Brannagh New Drama Award at the Windsor Fringe Festival and the Sphinx Theatre programme for female playwrights. Her first professional production, ‘A Tipsy Christmas Fairy Tale’, was staged by Liverpool Royal Court in 2022.

Harriet, Joe and Liz join a growing list of television writers supported by Channel 4 and New Writing North. Previous winners include Sharma Walfall, who won the inaugural award in 2015 and has gone on to write for productions including Dreamland, Noughts and Crosses and A Town Called Malice, and Jayshree Patel, whose award led to her becoming a core writer on Hollyoaks before recently moving to EastEnders. The programme has also launched the television writing careers of Taiba Ahmad, Adam Bennett-Lea, Joshua Halm, Kemi-Bo Jacobs and Samantha Neale.  

The Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards form part of Channel 4 and New Writing North’s Talent Development Partnership, which offers year-round support and opportunities for new writers from the North, with a particular focus on supporting writers from backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in the television industry. Alongside the awards and industry placements, it offers script development, writers’ roadshows and workshops, and the formation of the Northern Talent Network. 

Channel 4’s Head of Drama Caroline Hollick said: “Nurturing the next generation of talent is a key priority for Channel 4, particularly in the north, which is why we are so committed to these awards. We want to ensure that anyone who is determined to work in the creative industries has an opportunity to fulfil that ambition, regardless of their background or where they live.”

Will Mackie, Senior Programme Manager (Talent Development) at New Writing North, said: “Our flagship awards programme for screenwriters continues to grow and thrive through Channel 4’s generous ongoing support. The Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards give us the chance to identify and support three immensely gifted and exciting emerging writers. These awards offer genuine career-changing experiences and it’s enormously fulfilling for us to play a part in nurturing and celebrating new talent. So much of the success of this programme is down to the dedication and innovation of our brilliant production company partners — Rollem, Bonafide and Lime – who open doors into the world of TV for writers in the North.”

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Development at North East Screen said: “Huge congratulations to Harriet, Joe and Liz on winning these awards. All three are incredibly talented individuals, and in particular, we are very proud to see Harriet, a North East writer, on stage being presented with an award.

“New Writing North do incredible work nurturing writing talent across the north, and we are delighted to be co-hosting this event giving new talent the space to explore and have fun writing for screen.

“We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline with Channel 4 to offer even more opportunities to develop talent, content and companies in the North East that we can’t wait to share!”

New multi-million pound production fund set to ignite North East screen industry

Posted on by North East Screen

On Tuesday in the heart of London, North East Screen was in the spotlight as it launched its multi-million pound Production Fund to a room full of screen industries movers and shakers. The fund is set to transform the North East and attract more production companies and filmmakers to film in the region hot on the heels of much anticipated studio development plans. 

North East talent and locations have starred on screens in recent years with major feature films such as Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and 1917, as well as much loved TV drama Vera and children’s show The Dumping Ground, all choosing the North East to act as a backdrop.

Gayle Woodruffe, Operations Director at North East Screen said,

“We’ve got world class talent, exciting studio developments, an emerging infrastructure and now a Production Fund to supercharge the screen industry in the North East. We will attract more high-end TV productions, feature films and returning series to the region, providing more jobs and opportunities for regional and re-locating crew.”

Piloted in early 2023, the North East Production Fund has so far funded three very different productions: feature film JACKDAW from Tees Valley-born Director, Jamie Childs, and Anton Corp; unscripted children’s TV show, Cooking with the Gills, from Sunderland-based MCC Media, for Milkshake; and highly-anticipated drama, The Red King, from Quay Street Productions for UKTV.

Speaking of the support they have received from the Production Fund, Samantha McMillion, Chief Operating Officer at Quay Street Productions said,

“The support we have received from North East Screen through the Production Fund has been extraordinary. The team at North East Screen strive to work as a partner to production and have ensured that communication, and their approach, is collaborative throughout. Their team has been fantastic to work with and I would encourage other productions to seriously consider filming in the North East.

“Being able to provide jobs for local people, support trainees from the region and contribute to the continued growth of the industry in the North East is something we really value at Quay Street.”

Feature film JACKDAW is Tees Valley-born Jamie Childs’ directorial debut, shot in and around the area he grew up in. He said,

“I come from a northern colliery village and I’ve always wanted to make things here. The film shows off the North East in a very stylised and fictional way and allowed me and the great cast and crew to just have fun filming it.”

Delivered by regional screen agency, North East Screen, on behalf of the North East Screen Industries Partnership (NESIP), the discretionary fund looks to support scripted and unscripted film and TV productions from both indigenous companies and incoming productions with grants being made between £50,000 up to £500,000. All applications are judged by an independent panel of industry experts following a rigorous application process.  

NESIP is the ambitious partnership of all 12 local and combined authorities across North East England investing in growing the screen industry, driving inward investment and creating local jobs. North East Screen is delivering this groundbreaking programme to grow a thriving screen ecosystem which includes a hands-on film office service and significant skills and talent support. In a tough economic environment the North East is both ready to invest in productions ready to shoot immediately, but also interested in having conversations about development opportunities which best showcase the talent and beauty of the region with even more funding opportunities on the horizon. Productions should complete an Expression of Interest at www.northeastscreen.org/project/production-fund.

We are hiring – come work for the North East Screen family!

Posted on by North East Screen

We are looking for two people to join us as Development Coordinator and Skills Coordinator and continue to develop and support the North East’s film and TV industry.

If you love film and TV, have solid admin skills, a creative eye and want to make an impact then the Development Coordinator role may be just right for you. You’ll be part of the Talent and Business Development team helping to support North East companies and talent to land opportunities and thrive.

There’ll be a number of administrative duties you’ll have to do and be first port of call for all development related enquiries, as well as assisting the wider team with events and content creation.

Apply now for the Development Coordinator role.

If you fancy helping people get work in film and TV and supporting them on their journey, then apply to be our Skills Coordinator? You will be part of the Film Office team, reporting to the Skills Manager.

Your role will see you support North East based crew and those looking to get into the industry, offering insights on work opportunities, and give our Crew Academy members support and advice that will lead to them landing that next role. You’ll also look after our Crew Academy database, ensuring it is up-to-date and explore ways to grow and maintain it.

Apply now for the Skills Coordinator role.

You have until Midnight, Sunday 8th October to apply.

South Shields base puts filmmakers at heart of growing industry 

Posted on by North East Screen

A burgeoning North East creative sector is helping a team of North East filmmakers tell stories about their homeland. 

Award-winning South Shields film, television, and training company, Red Stamp Productions, is fast building a reputation for delivering unique, quality work about the North East and its diverse communities. 

Co-founder, Connor Langley, who formed the company with Michael Lambert, and Michael Rowlands, believes the team’s affinity with the region helps drive their passion for projects. 

“I had to move from the North East to cut my teeth in the industry, going to the North West to work on the documentary “Idris Elba, No Limits” for Discovery,” he said. “It was a fantastic experience, but also one that helped me realise that while I enjoyed working on a factual productions, it was scripted projects that really interested me.  

“I’d graduated from Sunderland University and decided to go back to study for my Masters. I met the two Michaels and realised we had loads in common. We worked together to create four, 20-minute horror comedies that won an RTS Award and we were off and running. 

“There were a few obstacles as we worked to establish ourselves, COVID being the main one, but we’ve delivered some really nice projects and continued to win work.” 

Among the projects have been an award-winning music video for 27 Productions, a musical about the former British Steel blast furnace at Redcar, short film The 12th Man about a supporter’s love for Middlesbrough, and a series of signed films for deaf children. 

Michael Rowlands said: “Though working-class stories are told on screen, seldom are they told by working-class people. Now that we have this exciting new kit, we’ll open opportunities for other working-class filmmakers to come and take advantage of it to create art, tell stories, and bring representation to the region from those that live and work here.”

As work lines up, Red Stamp is optimistic about the future of regional filmmaking, with Fulwell 73 creating a studio in Sunderland, Hartlepool’s Northern Studios opening and support agency North East Screen receiving funding from all councils to bring productions to the region like the recently released blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. 

To capitalise on the firm’s unique location in the heart of the North East, Red Stamp invested in state of the art equipment, thanks to a £30,000 grant from Innovate UK, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 

The Black Magic Mini Ursa 12K Camera was recently added to Netflix’s approved camera list, meeting the exacting standards set by streaming giant for productions on the platform. 

Michael Lambert added: “The grant has been invaluable. Too often talent has moved away and aspirations of the next generation hampered because of few job opportunities here in the TV and film industry. Red Stamp is passionate about creating a sustainable production company, aiming high for the next decade and bringing large-scale productions to the North East. This will then champion and employ young filmmakers and crew.”

Connor added: “We’re committed to telling the stories we love from the North East and to help create a thriving film production industry here, alongside the many extremely talented companies who are already here. 

“The new kit will strengthen our offer and help us build our reputation across an industry that is notoriously difficult to break into and almost inaccessible for a South Tyneside based company a few years ago.  

“But things have changed. The industry is waking up to great local talent, amazing film-making locations and an enthusiasm to make this once in a generation opportunity fly. 

“It costs so much to get up and running and we’re now investing in cameras that I could never have dreamed of even seeing, never mind using, when I was a student. The barriers for potential filmmakers from working-class backgrounds are still there, but they are getting smaller and with the help of North East Screen and arts and creative support organisations there will be greater opportunity for young filmmakers in the North East.” 

The company recently welcomed experienced media executive, Alex Connock, as a Red Stamp shareholder. A founder of Ten Alps with Bob Geldof, which owned TV production companies and was responsible for ground-breaking shows like The Big Breakfast, he said: “It’s exciting that there is this new and cutting edge production business in South Shields, at the same time as wider investment in studios and media production in the region. Media is a unique industry through which South Shields can access a world market – with its talent, its ideas and its locations – and it’s great that local government is so engaged.”

Connor added: “Alex adds knowledge, experience and has so many contacts across the industry, so it’s a genuine coup to have him involved with the business. 

“It feels like everything is falling into place for Red Stamp and we’re all genuinely excited about what the future hold for us, the company and the industry across the North East.” 

Cllr Margaret Meling, lead member for Economic Growth and Transport, said: “Having signed the Film-Friendly Charter, we recognise the benefits to our economy and tourism of the TV and film industry and we congratulate Red Stamp on the work they are doing to champion the region on screen

“The passion, skill and enthusiasm of the team there is evident and the work they produce is of the highest quality. I’m pleased that the Council has been able to support the company and I very much look forward to seeing more of their work.”

Speaking about Red Stamp’s growth, North East Screen’s Head of Talent and Business Development, Lisa Laws, said: “Connor and the team at Red Stamp are super passionate not only about the region, but the whole industry, and I know they will make the most of any opportunity that comes their way.  

“We’re delighted to be supporting them as they continue to grow and establish themselves within the North East screen sector.”

Fulwell 73 Receive 11 Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations

Posted on by North East Screen

Fulwell 73, the independent production company behind the highly anticipated reboot of the North East-based TV classic Byker Grove, has received 11 nominations for the 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards.

The production company has been nominated in a range of categories for programmes such as Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl and the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

Fulwell 73 have also partnered with Cain International and put forward plans to build the Crown Works Studios in Sunderland. The studio will be one of the largest filmmaking complexes in Europe, creating some 8,450 jobs across the North East over the next decade.

The awards ceremony will take place in Los Angles on Monday, September 18th at 5pm (on Tuesday the 19th at 1am UK time).

Read on for a list of Fulwell’s nominations. A full list of all of this year’s nominees is available at Emmys.com.

Outstanding Production Design For A Variety Special

Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl • Disney+ • Fulwell 73 Productions, Production Designer Misty Buckley, Art Director Joe Celli, Set Decorator Raquel Tarbet

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards • CBS • Fulwell 73, Production Designer Julio Himede, Art Director Kristen Merlino

Outstanding Choreography For Variety Or Reality Programming

Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl • Routines: Family Madrigal / Surface Pressure • Disney+ • Fulwell 73 Productions, Choreographer Jamal Sims

Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction For A Variety Special

Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl • Disney+ • Fulwell 73 Productions

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards • CBS • Fulwell 73

Outstanding Variety Special (Live)

Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium • Disney+ • Disney+ Presents in association with Rocket Entertainment / A Fulwell 73 Production

Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama Or Variety Series

Carpool Karaoke: The Series • Apple TV+ • CBS Studios in association with Fulwell 73 and Apple

Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Variety Series Or Special

Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium • Disney+ • Disney+ Presents in association with Rocket Entertainment / A

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards • CBS • Fulwell 73

Outstanding Technical Direction and Camerawork For A Special

Elton John Live: Farewell From Dodger Stadium • Disney+ • Disney+ Presents in association with Rocket Entertainment / A

Encanto At The Hollywood Bowl • Disney+ • Fulwell 73 Productions

Alibi commissions Toby Whithouse drama The Red King

Posted on by North East Screen

UKTV’s catalogue of original drama continues to grow, with the latest commission of The Red King (6×60’) for leading crime drama channel Alibi, which is currently filming in the North East.

The six-part series is created and written by Toby Whithouse (Being Human, The Game) and produced by Quay Street Productions, in association with ITV Studios, which will handle international distribution, and supported by North East Screen.

Filming starts today and features a star-studded line up with Anjli Mohindra (The Lazarus Project, Vigil) playing Grace Narayan, Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte) as Lady Heather Nancarrowand Marc Warren (Van Der Valk) as Dr Ian Prideaux.

Further cast include Jill Halfpenny (The Long Shadow, Everything I Know About Love) as Ann Fletcher, Mark Lewis Jones (Keeping Faith) as Gruffudd Prosser, Oliver Ryan (Steeltown Murders, Pennyworth) as Mihangel Pugh, Sam Swainsbury (Mum, Fisherman’s Friend) as Father Douglas Carrisford, Lu Corfield (Showtrial) as Lowri Bain, James Bamford (Luther: The Fallen Sun) as Owen Parry and Maeve Courtier-Lilley (The Outpost) as Winter Bain.

Toby Whithouse said: “Working with Quay Street and UKTV has been a genuine joy. This has been a passion project for all of us. A genre bending mystery, combining drama, suspense and horror, starring some of the best actors in television. We’re so excited to share these characters and their stories with you.”

Smart, capable and by the book Grace Narayan (Mohindra) was flying high as an inner-city police sergeant before being forced into a ‘punishment posting’ on the small, antiquated island of St. Jory. Confronted by the forgotten and unsolved case of missing teenage boy Cai, Grace quickly discovers that she must overcome scarce evidence, extraordinary local characters, and the island’s strange cult history to uncover the truth.

The Red King is a character-driven mystery-thriller, that combines the powerful story of a knotty police investigation with chilling, atmospheric folk-horror through the island’s eerie past devotion to a pagan God called the Red King and the cult of the True Way.

The UKTV Original series has been commissioned by Philippa Collie Cousins, senior commissioning editor, with Pete Thornton, head of scripted, and ordered for Alibi by Emma Ayech, channel director, and Hilary Rosen, director of commissioning. Executive producers are Nicola Shindler (Nolly, It’s A Sin, Stay Close) and Davina Earl (Men Up, Safe, Come Home) for Quay Street Productions (part of ITV Studios), Philippa Collie Cousins for UKTV and Toby Whithouse. The series will be directed by Daniel O’Hara (Stay Close, The Stranger, Brassic), who is also executive producer, and produced by Guy Hescott (Without Sin, Whitstable Pearl).  

Hilary Rosen said: “Toby Whithouse has created a clever and ambitious crime drama set in a vivid island location, and this dark and original tale will have audiences gripped. We are delighted to be collaborating once again with Nicola Shindler and her fantastic team at Quay Street Productions.”

Emma Ayech added: “We’re so excited to be working with the team at Quay Street Productions on this brilliant new series. The ensemble cast will perfectly bring the story to life, making this a fantastic addition to our growing portfolio of UKTV Original dramas on Alibi.”

Davina Earl, Executive Producer, Quay Street Productions said: “The Red King has been such an exciting project to bring to the screen, working with the team at UKTV. Toby Whithouse has a wonderfully distinctive voice, and his scripts are deeply intriguing, darkly funny and truly scary. The cast are a stellar mix of some of our most well-known and beloved actors. Plus, we get to showcase the North East as we create this compelling and atmospheric drama, which, as a North Easterner, is incredibly rewarding.”

The Red King is the latest UKTV Original for Alibi and will air in 2024. Other original dramas include The Diplomat, produced by World Productions, and Annika, which stars Nicola Walker and will return to Alibi for a second series later this year.