Mayor Welcomes BBC’s Backing of Local TV Production Company

Business & Invest | Published on: 4th August 2022

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has welcomed news that Hartlepool-based TV production company Sea & Sky Pictures has been announced as North East Indie partner for the BBC’s first ever Regional Partnership Scheme.

The new scheme, announced earlier this year, will see Sea & Sky Pictures receive £15,000 to co-develop a slate of original comedy projects for BBC Comedy, working alongside Hat Trick Productions.

The move shows how local businesses are already benefiting from the BBC’s commitment to invest £25million over the next five years – its biggest investment in the region in decades. The cash will be used to fund TV production and talent development across the region’s creative sectors.

The Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority previously provided a major boost to the area’s TV and film industry by supporting the £11.4million North East Screen Industries Partnership with a £4.5million investment.

This partnership will help capitalise on the BBC’s investment by helping to attract more inward investment, creating more jobs in the sector while developing and retaining local talent.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a fantastic result for a Hartlepool-based company that was up against some stiff competition from 24 other north-east firms. West Hartlepool and Seaton Carew was the location for Ridley Scott’s first film ‘Boy and Bicycle’ and this new partnership that shows that creative spark lives on today as our TV and film sector continues to go from strength to strength.

“This also demonstrates how BBC’s pledge to boost the sector in the north-east is paying off right now for people living and working here. The extra £11.4million will help magnify the BBC’s investment and boost opportunity for everyone involved in the industry, from directors and presenters to engineers, make-up artists and set designers.

“Sea and Sky have a track record of comedy production and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the screen thanks to this opportunity.”

Adam Bouabda, Managing Director of Sea & Sky Pictures said: “Sea & Sky Pictures will benefit massively from this partnership because I’ve never had the opportunity to work inside a big indie so I feel like we’re getting a look behind the curtain. We’ve got a great slate of comedy projects that I know Hat Trick are going to love and getting to develop four of them with their experienced team is going to make for an interesting journey.”

Lisa Laws, Head of Talent and Professional Development at North East Screen said: “Working in partnership with the commissioning and business teams at BBC and Hat Trick on this scheme has already given a huge boost to the development of scripted comedy in the North East. It was great to see so many exciting regional companies step up for this opportunity to co-develop with a world class indie like Hat Trick. It shows we don’t have a shortage of ambition, entrepreneurial spirit and passion for producing exceptional TV comedy from and in the region.”

Emma Lawson, Commissioning Editor, BBC Comedy said: “We’re delighted that Sea & Sky Pictures has been selected to go on this journey with Hat Trick – big up the Teessiders! Adam is such an entrepreneurial, collaborative producer, with an infectious energy, who has demonstrated an unshakeable commitment to comedy over the years. He is working with some of the very best emerging and established talent around, and we feel very lucky to have Sea & Sky Pictures, and all who sail with them, joining us for the first outing of this scheme.”

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