BBC Entertainment Production North announces three new commissions

It’s shaping up to be a fantastically busy and exciting few months ahead and it’s testament to the breadth of talent in Salford that we’re looking forward to such a rich and varied diet of new and returning programmes."David Williams, Creative Director, Entertainment North
Date: 07.08.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.09
The BBC today announces three brand-new commissions from BBC Entertainment Production North - Digby Jones' New Industrial Revolution; No Country For Young Men; and Junior Paramedics, as well as a second series of The Planners (now known as Not In My Back Yard).

David Williams, Creative Director Entertainment North, says: “It’s shaping up to be a fantastically busy and exciting few months ahead and it’s testament to the breadth of talent in Salford that we’re looking forward to such a rich and varied diet of new and returning programmes.”

Digby Jones' New Industrial Revolution, BBC Two, 3x60, commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two; Alison Kirkham, Commissioning Editor, Factual Features and Formats; and Tom Edwards, Commissioning Executive, Knowledge Commissioning

Lord Digby Jones is one of the kings of British business. A very successful lawyer and businessman, he later became the Director General of the CBI from 2000-2006, was ennobled and became Minister of State for Trade and Investment 2007-2008 and is widely known as an Ambassador for British Business. All of which makes him one of the ultimate authorities on British Industry.

Over the course of three episodes, Digby will explore the state of British manufacturing today and its place in the global marketplace by rolling up his sleeves and attempting to help three diverse British businesses battle toward a brighter future.

Focussing on a range of companies from across the UK, that will include anything from the technological to fashion and heritage, Digby will immerse himself in each business and attempt to apply his hard-earned expertise and learnings from some of the current British manufacturing success stories, to not only improve each company’s fortunes but over the course of the series try to craft a new blueprint for British manufacturing success.

It's a series of intelligence, authority and ambition - facing seemingly intractable problems. But also emotion and heart - the business case studies feature real people, with real needs and fears.

Digby joins a rich heritage of business talents and formats on BBC Two, from John Harvey-Jones’ original Troubleshooter through to Trouble At The Top and Back To The Floor, to today’s Alex Polizzi: The Fixer. The executive producer is Michael Tuft.

Tom Edwards says: “There are only a tiny handful of people with the expertise, personality and profile that could attempt a challenge like this. I'm delighted Lord Jones has agreed to take it on for us, at the BBC.”

Digby says: “I am thrilled to be making this series of programmes. It is vital that a wider audience understands how business ticks, especially smaller businesses wherefrom will come so much of the growth and employment in our economy over the next few years. I look forward to drilling down into businesses, asking the awkward questions, thinking the unthinkable and constructively challenging the status quo. I want to get the audience thinking and asking questions as well, and hopefully the younger members of local communities will also find something in the programmes for them to see why developing skills is so important. Bring it on!”

No Country For Young Men (w/t), BBC Three, 6x60, commissioned by Zai Bennett, Controller, BBC Three and Sean Hancock, Executive Producer, Entertainment Commissioning

In Christchurch, Dorset, over a third of the population is over 65. The region is crying out for new blood to breathe life into the town and those new arrivals can benefit from the elderly residents’ years of experience and know how. In a huge social experiment, BBC Three will offer 100 unemployed young people from a wide range of backgrounds a life-changing opportunity: to up sticks and move to Christchurch in Dorset and taste an entirely different life working in a full time job.

They will be interviewed by some of the town’s elderly residents and whittled down to the most deserving, and those lucky job seekers will then be put to work in a range of local businesses, under the watchful eye of an elderly mentor. At the end of the series, will the remaining youngsters choose to stay and make a new life in Christchurch, or will they return to their previous lives? The series editor is Sandi Scott and the executive producer is David Williams.

Junior Paramedics: Your Life In Their Hands, BBC Three, 7x60, Commissioned by Zai Bennett, Controller, BBC Three and Sean Hancock, Executive Producer, Entertainment Commissioning

BBC Three has also confirmed that the next series from the award-winning production team behind the series Junior Doctors: Your Life In Their Hands will turn its attention from junior doctors working in an inner city hospital to paramedics on the frontline of saving lives at a busy Ambulance Trust. They are the first on the scene in an emergency and their speed and expertise save thousands of lives every single year. But with government cuts and huge competition for jobs, it has never been tougher to become a paramedic.

Following a group of Paramedic Science students at different stages of their course at both work and play, these new recruits are thrown in at the deep end juggling intense study with highly pressurised practical experience in the ambulance with their mentor. The executive producer is Ceri Aston.

Sean Hancock says: “Junior Paramedics and No Country For Young Men both promise to be thought provoking and exciting series about young people in the UK trying to find their place in the world.”

Not In My Back Yard (formerly The Planners), 8x60, BBC Two, commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two and Pam Cavannagh, Commissioning Editor, Daytime.

BBC Two has also confirmed a second series of The Planners. The popular observational documentary series returns with a new title - Not In My Back Yard – and some new Planning Officers, who once again will be grappling with the Government’s controversial changes to the UK’s Planning Laws, not to mention over-ambitious developers, misguided home-owners and furious residents.

Behind every ‘Approved’ or ‘Refused’ planning application there is an army of homeowners, neighbours, developers, architects, builders and objectors all dealing with the fallout from the decision. Caught in the crossfire are the UK’s Planning Officers, who are charged with overseeing each planning application, interpreting the new rules, making a recommendation and optimistically hoping that everyone agrees.

One episode in the series will return to some of the most memorable disputes and decisions featured in the first series to discover whether the decisions have become bricks and mortar reality.

The series producer is Dympna Jackson and executive producers are Kieron Collins and Pam Cavannagh.

Pam Cavannagh says: "The Planners struck a chord with the audience by showing the process of planning across the UK. Not In My Back Yard will continue to do the same as we follow more great characters in Britain's planning offices."

TD