The new base will be called Big Talk North and will build on the company’s existing northern productions.
Big Talk is opening a northern production base to develop and produce comedy and drama from a new Manchester home.
Big Talk Productions already has a firm foothold in Manchester and its surrounding areas and has six nominations at the forthcoming RTS North West Awards, along with a long track record of working with northern-based talent.
Shows that were produced and filmed in the North by Big Talk Productions include three series of Cold Feet for ITV, two series of Raised By Wolves for Channel 4, Houdini & Doyle for ITV/FOX, two series of Timewasters for ITV2, the drama Our Zoo for BBC One and the BBC Two single drama Diana & I.
With this prodigious output has come strong relationships with writers, actors and directors, and throughout this time the company has helped train and nurture the next generation of northern-based programme-making talent, both in front of and behind the camera.
Heading up Big Talk North development will be executive producer Kathryn O’Connor. Kathryn is a born and bred Yorkshirewoman who now lives and works in Manchester. She has a long and illustrious track record working on numerous drama series produced in the north of the UK including Jimmy McGovern’s The Street, Coronation Street, Heartbeat, Vincent and as a development producer at ITV Studios.
Kathryn, who recently produced Cold Feet with Margaret Conway, will become a central point of contact for all development out of Northern England. Big Talk North will also build on its long relationship with producer Margaret Conway and line producer Helen Blyth, who will continue to work closely with the company.
Chief Executive Kenton Allen himself has a long track record in the region from his time at the BBC where he established BBC Comedy North to producing Mrs Merton and The Royle Family while at Granada TV.
Allen said, “I owe my career to the many very talented individuals in the North West. I started working at Granada Televison in 1994, which is how I was lucky enough to meet Craig Cash and Caroline Aherne and produce The Royle Family. We love shooting there, love working with all the remarkably talented cast and crews we’ve got to know over the years and we can’t wait to grow Big Talk North into a really significant provider of world-class scripted entertainment out of Manchester and all points North, East and West.’
Julian Bellamy, Managing Director of ITV Studios, said: “We are delighted that Big Talk are building on their considerable northern output and heritage with Big Talk North. ITV has had a substantive historical presence outside of London and, with almost half of its staff based in the nations and regions, ITV Studios is brilliantly placed to grow commissions from across the country, reflecting the face of Britain.”
Kathryn O’Connor said: “As a proud northerner with a passion for all things scripted, I am delighted to be part of Big Talk’s new adventure. The talent up here is vast, varied and ever-growing. Over the past twenty years I have had the honour of working with some of the strongest northern voices and the hardest working crews. I’m excited to be given the opportunity to develop original and entertaining content at Big Talk North, working with new and established writing talent and adding to the long list of world-class drama produced here.”
See more coverage on the Broadcast website.