This week it’s the turn of Rebecca Hodgson, Head of Drama at Lime Pictures.
Wednesday night was a big night for me as I went to Anfield for Liverpool’s game against Sunderland. I sat next to Vish, a scouser I’d never met before, who proceeded to hold his own monologue to the players for 90 minutes. I was struck by the warm timbre of his voice and the rhythm of his words. It was like listening to a poem and a wonderful example of the power of the Northern voice:
Aside from LFC going second, the big news for me and Lime in the past week has been the announcement that we are making “Evermoor”, the first live-action TV movie produced in the UK for broadcast on the Disney Channel US.
I’m so proud of our fantastic design team who are busy transforming a Warrington warehouse into sets for the interior of our fictional country house Evermoor Manor, while our equally creative costume team are trawling Lancashire mills in the search for the perfect material. The voices of Evermoor are soon to be heard across America and in 160 countries worldwide.
It was good to see CBBC announcing three new commissions including two drama recommissions – All At Sea and The Sparticle Mysteries. It’s hard to remember a time when CBBC wasn’t a part of our Northern heartland. How wonderful that with the Salford base, our kids are now growing up hearing the Northern voices of both actors and writers alike. Watch out for Lime’s CBBC drama “Rocket’s Island” coming to a small screen near you very soon – with the voice and imagination of Newton-le-Willows writer Nick Leather shining through it.
Meanwhile, BBC Director General Tony Hall announced that an additional £2.75m would be ploughed into television arts content. Whilst increased budgets for BBC channels is good news for all television producers, I do worry that this will be an opportunity for the favoured few.
I have lots of brilliant new writers working with me – getting them on the BBC radar is not very easy. I was cheered, however, to see that the BBC has enlisted the help of Nicholas Hytner, born and bred in Manchester, and Alex Poots, artistic director of the Manchester International Festival. I hope they will give the poetry of the North a louder voice on the BBC.
Back to my week – Thursday sent me to Leeds for a script meeting with a Leeds-based writer and a Newcastle creative for a potentially long running series we have in development with ITV – proof that our commitment to Northern talent stretches from the Irish to the North Sea.
As I head into Friday, I’m wondering whether I should take Vish to a wider range of sporting events – I’m thinking about a programme called The Poetry of Sport. Tony Hall, I think there might be something in this. Note to self – Tony Hall: call.