A major opportunity for North East screen comedy was announced at the BBC Comedy Festival in Newcastle.

Independent TV production companies based in the North East have been offered the chance to work with award winning comedy supplier Hat Trick Productions, BBC Comedy, and Northern Film and Media to get their ideas on-screen. The Regional Partnership Scheme has been established to support the growth of the scripted comedy supply base in an underserved and underrepresented region.

The partnership will see the companies co-develop a slate of original comedy projects over an initial six-month period to help strengthen and enhance the local talent and project development in the region, with the aim of getting more of the North East seen and heard within the BBC’s comedy output.

North East creative industries development agency Northern Film + Media selected Hat Trick Productions as the established comedy supplier that will be working with an emerging indie based in the North East of England. Hat Trick will be spending time in the region working with the selected indie to develop projects and talent, while providing business support and mentorship to help bolster the North Eastern company.

The announcement was made during the Regional Partnerships Panel at the inaugural BBC Comedy Festival in Newcastle.

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy Commissioning says: “The North East is the best place on earth and a hot bed of exceptional comedy talent. I’m thrilled that we are supporting Northern Film & Media and Hat Trick on a scheme that gets us closer to the regions best comic voices and stories. It’s a dream come true to be collaborating on home soil and I can’t wait to see what brilliant new shows and talent will emerge from the partnership”.

Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of Northern Film + Media says: “We are delighted that comedy in the region is being supported in such a huge way. We hope by working closely with BBC Comedy and comedy giant Hat Trick we can bring opportunities to regional talent developing knowledge, skills and networks. The partnership will be a catalyst for growth in the sector and we’re excited to see local talent flourish.”

Jimmy Mulville, Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions says: “Hat Trick is honoured to be working with BBC Comedy and Northern Film and Media on this fantastic project. The North East has a rich legacy of iconic comic talent both in front and behind the camera and we can’t wait to get stuck in to find the next generation of hit comedies!”

The North East Regional Partnership Scheme 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.

Applications are now open for North East based indies to apply, more details can be found here: https://northernmedia.org/regional-partnership-scheme-with-northern-film-media-and-hat-trick-productions/

The BBC announced in 2021 it would 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. The North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) will add to that by contributing £2.85m to an £11m fund created by local authorities that will be used to pay for the development of talent to regenerate the local TV and film industry.

It’s thanks to this investment and the commitment to boost the creative and screen sector in the North East that we could welcome the BBC Comedy Festival to Newcastle. The free comedy festival was supported by Northern Film and Media, the North East’s Screen agency and provided budding comedy talent in the region with a learning, development and networking opportunity on a large scale.

It featured talent including ‘Screenwipe’ star and TV Columnist Charlie Brooker, stand-up comic and ‘Inbetweeners’ star Greg Davies, comedian and TV presenter Romesh Ranganathan, and ‘Modern Family’ screenwriter Megan Ganz in free sessions in Newcastle on May 12 and 13.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, NTCA cabinet member for Culture, Creative and Rural said “We need more TV filmed in the North East from every genre. We want to develop screen skills locally, raise aspirations and help all of those in the industry – from directors, producers and presenters to lighting and sound engineers, make-up artists and set designers – realise they can have a great career right here. This commitment by our local authorities, the North of Tyne and the BBC supported by Northern Film and Media will help put us on the map again.”