BBC Comedy has announced it is working on a brand-new 'Regional Partnership Scheme' co-funded with the North East of England's creative industries development agency Northern Film + Media.
The scheme has been established to support the growth of the scripted comedy supply base "in an underserved and underrepresented region".
It will see a slate of original comedy projects developed over an initial 6-month period to help strengthen and enhance the local talent and project development in the region, with the aim of getting more of the north east seen and heard within the BBC's comedy output.
Northern Film + Media have selected Hat Trick Productions as the "established comedy supplier" that will be working with an emerging indie based in the North East of England. Hat Trick will be spending time in the region working with the yet-to-be selected indie to develop projects and talent, while providing business support and mentorship to help bolster the north eastern company.
The announcement was made during the Regional Partnerships Panel at the inaugural BBC Comedy Festival, which is currently taking place in Newcastle.
Emma Lawson from BBC Comedy Commissioning says: "The north east is the best place on earth and a hot bed of exceptional comedy talent. I'm thrilled that we are supporting Northern Film & Media and Hat Trick on a scheme that gets us closer to the region's best comic voices and stories. It's a dream come true to be collaborating on home soil and I can't wait to see what brilliant new shows and talent will emerge from the partnership."
Alison Gwynn, Chief Executive of Northern Film + Media, says: "We are delighted that comedy in the region is being supported in such a huge way. We hope by working closely with BBC Comedy and comedy giant Hat Trick we can bring opportunities to regional talent developing knowledge, skills and networks. The partnership will be a catalyst for growth in the sector and we're excited to see local talent flourish."
Jimmy Mulville, Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions, adds: "Hat Trick is honoured to be working with BBC Comedy and Northern Film and Media on this fantastic project. The north east has a rich legacy of iconic comic talent both in front and behind the camera and we can't wait to get stuck in to find the next generation of hit comedies!"