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Co-op and Corrie, Channel 4 and Football Manager: The 10 best-read stories on Prolific North in 2021


2021 saw the digital and creative sectors take great strides towards recovery, and was a remarkable period for industry successes.

It was easy for nobody, but after the challenges of 2020 there was a great deal more optimism for growth and success in 2021. At Prolific North, we’ve continued to keep you updated on the most recent developments in the industry, showing off what it has to offer.

Once again, let’s take a look back at the ten most popular stories of the year.

10. Steve Jones fronts new Halfords campaign created by BJL

The tenth most-popular story of the year came at the launch of the first campaign for Halford’s range of motoring services, fronted by Steve Jones.

Created by BJL, now part of dentsuMB, the ad features the presenter explaining how Halfords supports motorists through the medium of rhyme.

Read here.

BBC Children In Need - Owain Wyn Evans - Drumathon
9. BBC weatherman drums up more than £3m in funding for Children In Need

North West Tonight weather presenter Owain Wyn Evans caught the public attention when he took part in a ‘drumathon’ challenge, playing for 24 hours to raise money for Children In Need.

Evans, who was joined throughout by guests including Al Murray, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Blondie drummer Clem Burke, saw a huge surge in donations, ultimately surpassing £3 million by November 15th.

Read here.

8. Football Manager players will no longer be able to manage ‘Manchester United’

In August, players of the popular Football Manager title were disappointed to find out they could no longer manage Manchester United on the game, after a trademark dispute between the club and the game’s publisher and developer.

Instead, to settle the case on a no-admission basis, it was changed so that the team would instead be ‘Manchester UFC’ or ‘Man UFC’.

Read more.

7. Shaun Keaveny to leave BBC Radio 6 Music

After 14 years at the station, presenter Shaun Keaveny announced his departure from 6 Music in summer, saying “Things change, places change, people change, and it’s time for a change…

“You have been there through births, marriages, deaths, divorces, get togethers, break ups, great sandwiches, bad curries, deceased pets, the lot. You have been unceasingly funny, always kind, always there with pedantry or support for even the silliest feature idea.”

Read here.

Det Insp Matt Gregory, Sgt Kimberley Hames-Evans and DC Dot Orr (Dot pictured in the long coat).
6. New BBC documentary to tell the story behind the capture of serial Manchester rapist Reynhard Sinaga

On October 6th, BBC Two broadcast ‘Catching a Predator’, a documentary focusing on Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Island, an investigation into the “most prolific rapist” in British legal history, Reynhard Sinaga.

Sinaga was convicted of 159 sexual offences against 48 men, though the full number of victims is thought to be 206, according to police evidence.

Read more.

5. Rashford reportedly parts ways with Roc Nation agency

Marcus Rashford was a regular appearance in news stories this year, holding the British Government to account and even appearing in Aldi’s Christmas advert.

In 2020 Rashford started working with entertainment agency Roc Nation, founded by Jay-Z, but around a year later it was reported that the footballer had parted ways with the agency, although he would continue to work with Kelly Hogarth, Roc Nation’s VP of Strategy and Communications.

See more.

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4. First pictures revealed as Channel 4 opens new national headquarters in Leeds

One of the year’s most high-profile events was Channel 4’s official move to its new national HQ in the heart of Leeds – with 200 of its 912 staff relocating to the base including its Head of Drama and Head of Sport, but not its CEO and Chief Content Officer.

The former Majestyk nightclub was renovated by Rushbond Group, and became the broadcaster’s base three years after Leeds was chosen ahead of Manchester and Birmingham.

See it here.

3. Freemans’ “multimillion pound” marketing campaign for Julien Macdonald collection

Earlier in the year, Freemans launched its new Julien Macdonald range with a through-the-line brand advertising campaign on TV, digital, print, social and PR campaign. It featured Strictly’s Janette Manrara – also Julien Macdonald’s once dance partner – and was voiced by Joanna Froggatt of Downton Abbey.

Created without an advertising agency, the digital department store instead appointed an external team of producers and creatives to make it.

Read more.

2. Co-op uses Corrie partnership to launch recycling campaign

As Manchester-based Co-op rolled out Europe’s most extensive in-store recycling scheme for soft plastics, it struck up a partnership with Coronation Street to install recycling units in the soap opera’s local store.

It also launched a campaign with Lucky Generals, including a TV advert featuring an older man venturing out of his house for the first time in a while.

See more.

1. New host and captains for BBC Question of Sport

Viewers waited with bated breath to find out who would take up the helm at Question of Sport after the departure of Sue Barker after 24 years, along with Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell.

The announcement that Paddy McGuinness would become the new presenter, along with the new team captains – hockey player Sam Quek and rugby player Ugo Monye – became Prolific North’s best-read story of the year.

Read it here.

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