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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Local independent production companies win new BBC network commissions

Independent production companies in Northern Ireland have won a number of network entertainment commissions under the BBC's long-term investment plan to increase its supply of network programmes made outside London.

Belfast-based production company Wild Rover who previously supplied the network programme Just For Laughs to the BBC has been commissioned by BBC One to produce Secret Fortune, a brand-new eight-part Lottery Show format devised by the company.

Hosted by Nick Knowles, each studio-based show sees two contestants faced with a series of tricky choices and general knowledge questions which could lead them to £100,000... or £100. The show will be executive produced by Phil Morrow.

Production and post-production of the weekly show will come from Northern Ireland during its four-month run with filming taking place over a ten-day period in the BBC's Pacific Quay Studios in Scotland, which can hold larger audiences.

Green Inc has been commissioned to produce The Many Faces Of... June Whitfield for BBC Two – a 60-minute factual entertainment piece telling the story of June's career; and BBC Four's Men About The House, which charts the story of the "comedy dad".

Both projects will be executive produced by Stephen Stewart and produced by Graeme Hart. The company is also piloting a comedy entertainment studio show – Ask Rhod Gilbert Anything – which sees the comedian get to grips with a series of audience questions which may just yield answers no-one was expecting. It will be filmed in BBC Northern Ireland's Blackstaff studios in Belfast.

Peter Johnston, Director BBC Northern Ireland, said: "It is great to see established local independent production companies Green Inc and Wild Rover winning BBC TV network commissions. We now need to build on this early progress and also ensure that life in Northern Ireland is better reflected across the BBC networks."

These announcements come six months after the appointment of Alan Tyler as Executive Editor Entertainment (Out of London) who is responsible for developing a strategic overview of the independent sector for Entertainment in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Working with Ailsa Orr, BBC Northern Ireland's Head of Programmes, Alan manages key relationships with independent production companies acting as an ambassador for the entertainment strategies in both nations in developing talent and delivering original, high-profile commissions for the network.

Alan Tyler adds: "It's a privilege to be working with such great companies on such a broad range of entertainment projects. It's fantastic that we are delivering some of the brightest ideas in a way that also reflects the BBC's unique commitment to investing in UK-wide production."

The shows from Northern Ireland were commissioned by the respective channel controllers – Jay Hunt (BBC One), Janice Hadlow (BBC Two) and Richard Klein (BBC Four), Controller of Entertainment, Mark Linsey and Executive Editor for Entertainment Alan Tyler.

Mark Linsey says: "These commissions put us well on the way to achieving the growth targets we've set ourselves for out of London commissions and are already enthused about what's coming next from the independent community in the nations."

Notes to Editors

Additional BBC Northern Ireland Network Supply Information relating to in-house BBC production:

Many millions will be spent locally between now and the end of the current Charter in 2016, with network production from Northern Ireland expected to increase in line with its share of the UK population (0.4% to around three percent) by 2016.

This year BBC Northern Ireland has increased its supply of Panorama programmes from its quota of four programmes to eight with ambition to increase that to 12 next year.

It has produced dramas Five Minutes Of Heaven and Occupation, is delivering more factual output, including the factually-based drama Atlantis. Currently in production, this tells the epic story of Europe's first civilisation and the natural disaster that gave rise to the legend.

Output in factual will also include films for the One Show.

BBC Northern Ireland will also become the designated home of the Sunday morning religious slot.


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