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Northern producers land BBC Small Indie Fund wins

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Launched in 2020, the £1m Fund supports the growth of small independent production companies with turnovers below £10m across Drama, Entertainment, Comedy, Factual, and Daytime. This year for the first time the fund includes companies selected and mentored by the Children’s commissioning team.

The initiative was designed to help boost the strength of UK production in the context of global competition with a strong focus on companies with diverse leadership and producers based outside London. This year sees our highest ever number of companies based in the English Regions, with significant increase in support for companies based in the North East and Midlands.

79 per cent (38 companies) of this year’s small indie fund companies are based in the Nations and the English Regions and 52% (25 companies) have diverse leadership. The successful companies receive strategic investment and a BBC commissioning editor as a mentor to help them grow.

The North West had the most successful applicants in this year’s funding round, with nine, while the North East managed six and Yorkshire four.

The 50 companies in last year’s Small Indie Fund cohort have already won 48 new commissions since they were selected, with many more ideas still in active development, and a number of series re-commissions.

Matt Travers, Head of Business, TV Commissioning and Business Development, says: “The BBC’s small indie fund enables us to back companies across the UK who have brilliant stories to tell and help create the next generation of on and off screen talent. Companies like these are the lifeblood of the UK’s creative industry. It’s incredible to hear we’ve already had 48 commissions from the companies we supported last year and we look forward working with this year’s cohort.”

Commissions from the previous Small Indie Fund cohort also include Coast to Coast Food Festival (w/t The Great Food Festival), where Friel Kean and Alleycats were commissioned to produce films. Alleycats have also been commissioned to make Clive Myrie’s Italian Roadtrip for BBC Two.

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Business and Development at North East Screen said of her own region’s strong performance: “We are delighted for the companies receiving this fund, an amazing outcome for them and for TV production in the North East. We have worked closely with each of the companies so understand how this support will help to drive forward their businesses. The companies selected are a good mix of businesses relocating to the region and home grown talent.”

The BBC already commissions significantly more small producers than any other broadcaster and wants to sustain plurality of supply and support innovation in all its forms. This Fund enables them to compete more effectively when they don’t have the support of big international corporate groups.

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