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Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston reunite for RTS Midlands screening

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Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston reunite for RTS Midlands screening 

The nation’s favourite TV husband and wife, Ricky Tomlinson and Sue Johnston, are roadtripping their way round Britain in their new show for More4, revisiting places that shaped them as performers and people.

Ricky, Sue & a Trip or Two is a celebration of their 40 years as an on-screen married couple, first as Brookside’s Sheila and Bobby Grant, then as Jim and Barbara in The Royle Family, and the lasting bond it has created between them.

Episode two, which is based around the Midlands, was shown at an RTS Midlands screening at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), followed by a Q&A with the two stars.

Jazz Gowans, Creative Director at Nine Lives Media, who was behind the show, revealed how it came together: “We’d been working with the brilliant Colin McKeown [co-creator of Brookside] and his team at LA Productions, trying to find the right project. They rang up and said Ricky and Sue might be available at the same time. We were jumping up and down and pinching ourselves.

“The idea for what they’d do was collaborative. It was very much driven by what they felt was real and authentic.”

Tomlinson said they knew that this very personal travelogue would work. “The chemistry between us was just natural. We have a lot in common – we’re both fanatical Liverpool supporters. And we have a good laugh. We’re lucky at our age [Tomlinson is 84 and Johnston is 80] still to be working and having a laugh and a joke.”

The first episode in the three-part series focuses on Liverpool, the city they’re most closely associated with, but the second reveals some surprising, and emotional, connections to the Midlands.

Many of their guides to Birmingham were in the audience at the MAC, including comedian Shazia Mirza, who tried to persuade plain-food-loving Tomlinson of the delights of curry with a meal at the Michelin-starred Opheem, and local historian Professor Carl Chinn, who navigated a trip on the canal.

Director Debbie Isitt, whom Tomlinson worked with on the film Nativity!, was also there, and a community group who were out rowing on the canal when they saw the Royle pair go by, and lost an oar in surprise.

There were tears amid the laughter, as Tomlinson recalled his time in Shrewsbury Prison, after being jailed for his activities as a trade union picket during the national building workers’ strike in 1972. He and construction worker Des Warren were known as the Shrewsbury Two as people protested at their unfair imprisonment – including Johnston.

“We did our time, but we wouldn’t wear clothes and we wouldn’t work because we shouldn’t have been there,” recalls Tomlinson. “It killed Dessie; they were giving him the liquid cosh [a cocktail of tranquillisers] and needle. I went on hunger strike for 31 days and was so ill they moved me to the prison hospital.

“One of the last times I saw Dessie before he died – he’d been hard as nails – he was just a crease in a sheet lying on a mattress.”

Johnston recalled the groundbreaking work she did as an actress with Theatre-in-Education at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre: “It was wonderful. It opened up children’s lives and minds. Teachers told us they had never seen their pupils react that way.

“When I did Brookside, the young make-up assistant remembered us going into her school when she was 11, and it affected her. We did things that mattered, they meant something.”

Johnston said she was proud they had shown off the often under-appreciated beauty of Birmingham in the episode, though, in typical Jim Royle style, Tomlinson said he wouldn’t be back for another curry: “No thanks, my arse still hasn’t recovered.”

The screening and panel, hosted by Nikki Tapper of BBC Radio WM, was an RTS Midlands event held at the Midlands Arts Centre on 20 March. It was produced by Jayne Rae.

Source: Royal Television Society Alison Jones

BBC This Town where it’s filmed

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BBC This Town where it’s filmed – every location across Birmingham and the West Midlands

Birmingham filming locations for BBC’s This Town by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight including Coventry, West Bromwich, Aston and Walsall

Steven Knight’s new BBC drama This Town brings to life the world of Ska and Two-Tone music in its 1980s heyday but much of it may seem very familiar. Filmed across Birmingham and the West Midlands, this is a closer look at the local locations used.

Peaky Blinders creator Knight is putting the region on the map once again, using landmarks from West Bromwich to Nechells and Gravelly Hill. Even Halesowen’s Levi Brown – playing the lead Dante Williams – recalled turning up on set to find it was near where his granddad lived.

Knight, who spent his teenage years in Sutton Coldfield around Streetly, has described This Town as a “love letter to Birmingham and Coventry”. Viewers can try and figure out the local spots for themselves when series one airs on BBC One and iPlayer from March 31.

The six-part season stars Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery and Peaky Blinders’ Jordan Bolger along with newcomer Levi Brown as the main character Dante. It’s a high octane thriller and a family saga about young people from Birmingham making their own way in the world by starting up a band in 1981 amid racial tensions.

From the high-rise tower blocks of This Town to the traditional pub, we have all you need to know about where it was filmed below.

Druids Heath in south Birmingham

Although they are supposed to be high-rise flats in Chelmsley Wood, those were knocked down years ago. Doubling for them in This Town are the tower blocks in Druids Heath instead.

The high rises off Kimpton Close of Saxelby House, Kingswood House and Barratts House feature heavily as the one of the main character, Dante, played by Levi Brown.

Writer Knight spoke of his affection for the towers saying: “These blocks are beautiful when pigeons are flying at them and if you live in them, the view is amazing and you can see the curve of the earth. I wanted to reflect working class life as it is lived and not perceived by other people.”

A stage direction note by Knight in the script for the opening sequence with the tower blocks even read “the sunset dignifies the tower blocks of Chelmsley Wood”.

Nechells in Birmingham

Film crews went to Heartlands Parkway near Star City in Nechells to film scenes where a spaceman is being carried in the shadow of a motorway. The road’s distinctive diamond brickwork gives away the spot as you can see in this photo above. Thousands of motorists pass the section every day as they head to and from the direction of the Fort Shopping Centre.

Gravelly Hill

The iconic Birmingham landmark of Spaghetti Junction features in This Town but may look a little different. It’s because actors were underneath the motorway junction in Gravelly Hill.

West Bromwich

The Happy Trooper pub in Chelmsley Wood was knocked down many years ago so the set designers had to recreate it elsewhere. Swapping the sign, the film crew used the Horse and Coaches pub in Kesteven Road, Hateley Heath, West Bromwich. This is where some of the bizarre scenes take place in the show including a memorable one involving a space suit.


In the heart of Aston’s community is a modern church dating back to 1973. It was here in South Aston Church, in Upper Sutton Street, that filming took place to give an authentic feel of Birmingham in the 1980s.

Bromford in Birmingham

Atmospheric scenes are show in This Town as character walk under the M6 motorway at Bromford. In real life, this section amongst the motorway is near to Cameronian Croft, shown above. It is at the back of Bromford Residents Club, which was also used for filming.


The terraced houses and back alleyways of Stoke-on-Trent were used to create an early 1980s neighbourhood similar to Handsworth in Birmingham. While many other cities have been modernised, the streets off Birks Street and Campbell Road in Stoke have kept a retro authenticity. Stoke was used for riot scenes with the police. Filming was off Lyndhurst Street in Burslem and included a replica tank and a vintage white police van with portable siren.


Steven Knight’s Digbeth Loc Studios were used for many of the scenes. Based at Minerva Works in Fazeley Street, it has opened this year as a “home to storytellers” and creatives. It’s a new base that is expected to help boost the amount of film work in Birmingham. Knight said: “Digbeth is a very special area for me. Most of my relatives grew up in Small Heath and, being a Birmingham City supporter, I’d always be there too.“Digbeth is one of the great areas of Britain in terms of culture. It’s rough and ready, but in my opinion it’s beautiful. When HS2 arrives, there’s going to be a big change in Birmingham – I hope it won’t lose its identity and character.”


The busy junction between the M5 and M6 has some added glamour of featuring in This Town. Normally packed with queues, it is a scene where Dante and Jeannie connect in the drama. This filming location was on the canal bridge at Bescot that looks towards the two motorways when they link up.


The BBC said Coventry was used for filming, aptly as it was the home to Two-Tone band The Specials and where the movement started.

Source: Birmingham Live

Channel 4 launches first equity strategy

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Channel 4 launches first equity strategy

PSB looks to embed diversity and inclusion into decision-making

Channel 4 has updated its diversity and inclusion policies with the launch of its first ever equity strategy framework.

The new framework titled ‘Equity by Design’ is intended to embed diversity and inclusion into C4’s decision-making from the outset. It was described in a statement as “a blueprint for everyone who works at Channel 4” as the broadcaster moves to become a digital-first streamer.

Equity by Design has been created around six principles which were designed by C4 employees, stakeholders and audiences. These are: make informed choices, design for inclusion, choose inclusive partners, treat people right, create opportunity, and lead on societal impact.

“As an agile digital-first streamer, our success will depend on how well we can anticipate and respond to changing needs in this space,” read a statement.

“We will only close existing diversity and inclusion gaps by applying a vigorous equity lens to everything we do. We will achieve this by improving how we design diversity and inclusion into our decision-making from the outset.”

As part of the equity strategy, the creative diversity team which sits in the commissioning department will be renamed creative equity, to reflect the new emphasis on equity throughout the business.

Within its six principles, the new framework also states that it will “assess and hold suppliers accountable to their commitment to equity” as part of its ‘choose inclusive partners’ principle. This means that C4 will focus on investing in diverse and inclusive partners and it empowers commissioners to set out equity expectations when working with suppliers, following diversity guidelines and compliance standards set out by the broadcaster.

The framework also intends to address societal issues impacting employees and audiences such as class. As part of this, the organisation is looking to meaningfully address the current conflict in Israel and Gaza and how it can best support the health and wellbeing of Jewish, Muslim and Arab employees and create a more inclusive culture with regards to faith.

In 2023, Channel 4 exceeded its diversity goals with women representing 58% of its workforce, with 22% of employees being ethnically diverse against a 20% target and 21% disabled compared to a 12% target.

“The fight for equitable representation is the foundation of Channel 4,” said C4 chief executive Alex Mahon.

“This Equity Strategy is the next jump ahead and will centre our ways of doing things and our employees and audience in helping us make more positive impact. As we become the world’s first public service streamer, we will be doing it with these values at the heart of all our choices.”


Cillian Murphy to star in ‘Peaky Blinders’ film, shoot set for September

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Cillian Murphy to star in ‘Peaky Blinders’ film, shoot set for September

Speaking to Birmingham World at the premiere of his new BBC drama “The Town,” “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight confirmed that recent Oscar winner Cillian Murphy will be reprising his beloved role in the upcoming film version of the British crime drama. Knight said Murphy is “definitely” coming back, and filming on the “Peaky Blinders” movie kicks off this September.

“He definitely is returning for it. We’re shooting it in September just down the road in Digbeth,” Knight confirmed.

Murphy’s apparent return as Tommy Shelby for the “Peaky Blinders” movie isn’t too much of a shock considering the “Oppenheimer” star has long been vocal about his interest in starring in a “Peaky Blinders” film as long as the script was worthy enough.

“If there’s more story there, I’d love to do it,” Murphy told Rolling Stone U.K. last year about a “Peaky” movie. “But it has to be right. Steve Knight wrote 36 hours of television, and we left on such a high. I’m really proud of that last series. So, it would have to feel legitimate and justified to do more.”

Murphy told the Irish Star just last month ahead of winning the Oscar: “I have always said that if Knight delivers a script that I know he can deliver, because he is such a phenomenal writer, I’ll be there. … If we want to watch 50-year-old Tommy Shelby, I will be there. Let’s do it.”

During a conversation for Variety‘s Actors on Actors between Murphy and “Peaky Blinders” superfan Margot Robbie last year, she mentioned the series, saying, “Can we please talk about Tommy fucking Shelby for just one minute?” She then asked him about a potential spinoff movie, begging him to do one, to which Murphy said: “I mean, I’m open to the idea. I’ve always thought that if there’s more story to tell.”

Source: Variety

Stars hit red carpet in Birmingham for This Town premiere

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Stars hit red carpet in Birmingham for This Town premiere

The new BBC drama from Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight premiered at Birmingham Town Hall last night, Tuesday 18 March and celebrities turned out to see it.

Screening on BBC1 on Easter Sunday at 9pm we can look forward to the high action drama from the Brummie writer with much of the scenes filmed around the West Midlands.

This Town tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and 2-Tone music, which grew from the grassroots of Coventry and Birmingham in the late 1970s and early ’80s. Unifying black, white and Asian youths at that time, Knight previously said the series soundtrack would be ‘sensational’.

Both a high-octane thriller and a family saga, This Town opens in 1981 at a moment of huge social tensions and unrest. Against this backdrop, it tells the story of a group of young people fighting to choose their own paths in life, each needing the second chance that music offers.

Celebrities attending the premiere were Geraldine James, Peaky Blinders’ Jordan Bolger and UB40’s Robin Campbell.

Source: Birmingham Live

Get down to This Town!

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Get down to This Town!

Exclusive red-carpet screening for Steven Knight’s new BBC drama in Birmingham

Members of the public are invited to a free glitzy red-carpet preview of the brand-new BBC series ‘This Town’, created and written by Peaky Blinders creator, Steven Knight. Made by Kudos and Nebulastar for the BBC, it’s the story of an extended family and a group of young people who are drawn into an explosive and thrilling music scene in the Midlands in the early 1980s.

The star-studded event, which takes place at the Birmingham Town Hall on Tuesday 19 March, includes an exclusive screening of the first episode, followed by a panel discussion with Steven himself, Paul Whittington the director of the series and cast members Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey, Anatomy of Scandal), Eve Austin (You, Our Ladies) and more.

Fans can apply for tickets on the BBC Shows and Tours website. The ballot will remain open until 11.55pm on Sunday 10 MarchSpaces are limited and participant tickets will be selected from a ballot at random.

Produced by Kudos (a Banijay UK company) and Nebulastar for the BBC, co-produced with Mercury Studios, in association with Kudos North and Stigma Films, This Town opens in 1981 at a moment of huge social tension and unrest. Against this backdrop, it tells the story of a group of young people fighting to choose their own path in life, each in need of the second chance that music offers. It was filmed on location in the Birmingham area, and at Steven Knight’s new Digbeth Loc. Film and TV Studios.

This major new drama series features a thrilling cast including Michelle Dockery (Downtown Abbey, Anatomy of Scandal), Nicholas Pinnock (Life, Marcella), David Dawson (My Policeman, The Last Kingdom) alongside rising stars Levi Brown (Loss and Return), Jordan Bolger (The Woman King, The Book of Boba Fett), Ben Rose (Line of Duty, The Innocents),  Eve Austin (You, Our Ladies) and more.

The series is co-produced with Mercury Studios (part of the Universal Music Group) who have helped create the musical backdrop for Knight’s incredible story. Acclaimed producer Dan Carey, and Brit and Mercury nominated musician, novelist and poet Kae Tempest, have written the songs performed by the band in the series.

The commission of This Town underlines the BBC’s commitment to make more content across the UK, helping to ensure that the BBC’s portrayal of the Midlands is more authentic, more real, and more ambitious than ever before.

Hayley Valentine, BBC Head of the Midlands said: “This story is amazing and the fact that it was shot and made in the Midlands by Steven Knight has a huge impact on the creative economy in Birmingham and surrounding areas in the Midlands. It showcases the wide range creative talent that the whole of the Midlands has to offer, and the BBC is proud to be a part of it.”

Steven Knight, Creator, Writer and Executive Producer of This Town said: “I can’t wait for people to see this exciting new show. But, first, I’d love the people of Birmingham and Coventry to see it because it’s about us.”

Karen Wilson, Joint MD of Kudos said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Steven Knight, with a show that is steeped in the spirit of the Midlands and the thrilling music scene of the era. We think Steve has created another cast of unforgettable, iconic characters and can’t wait for audiences to meet them”.

Martin Haines, Joint MD of Kudos said: “Our mission in setting set up the Kudos Knight partnership is to invest in brilliant West Midlands talent and to create a drama pipeline which is made in Birmingham and attracts the brightest and the best. We are delighted that our first project to come to the screen is This Town which is emblematic of everything we want to achieve. This is just the start…”

Marc Robinson, Co-President of Mercury Studios said: “It has been a privilege to be working with Paul Whittington, Steven Knight and the entire Kudos team in bringing the musical narrative of This Town to life. Music is at the heart of the series, and it has been a thrill to work with such excellent musical talent on this project. Having Dan Carey and Kae Tempest involved from script stage, set the tone that went on to attract the array of talent that ensued whilst in edit. Excited to share and celebrate the music that compliments this exceptional series.”

This Town is created, written and executive produced by Steven Knight. It is directed by Paul Whittington and produced by Tim Whitby and Charlotte Surtees. Executive Producers are Karen Wilson, Katie McAleese and Martin Haines for Kudos, and Tommy Bulfin and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Matthew James Wilkinson (Stigma Films), Nick Angel and Laura Conway (Kudos North) serve as Co-Executive Producers, Alice Webb and Marc Robinson (Mercury Studios) as Co-Producers. Banijay Rights will handle international distribution for the series.

Source: BBC

Festivals on Festivals: Autumn Edition

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Festivals on Festivals: Autumn Edition

Recently, Birmingham and the West Midlands was crowned ‘Event Destination of the Year’ at an awards ceremony for the exhibitions industry, the EN (Exhibition News) Supplier Awards 2023.

There are plenty of fantastic Film Festivals and screening popping up across the region over the coming months. So, why not highlight all the fun things that make us the Event Destination of the Year.

National Cinema Day

Kicking off with National Cinema Day on 02 September 2023, where hundreds of cinemas across the UK are came together, offering tickets to all screenings from just £3. Cinemas showed a mix of recently-released films, as well as bringing back much-loved classics, many of which may not have been shown on the big screen in a number of years.

I Will Tell International Film Festival

The 17th edition of I Will Tell International Film Festival will take place in London, Birmingham and Bristol in the UK with the support of the British Film Institute bringing the festival to wider audiences across the UK. The festival will happen from 7-10 September 2023 in The Mockingbird Cinema and Birmingham Town Hall.

Birmingham Heritage Week

The city-wide celebration of almost 200 events showcasing Birmingham’s fascinating history, people, and places for Birmingham Heritage Week is from 8-17 September 2023. As part of the celebrations Matthew R Ford’s fascinating documentary ‘City On Screen‘ about Birmingham’s cinematic history, will be showing at The Mockingbird Cinema on 16 September 2023.

Pocket Film Festival

The Pocket Film Festival, supported by Film Hub Midlands, whirrs back into action again to deliver festival number 6 across Stafford from 12-17 September 2023. The six-day watch fest will be bringing more cinematic treats, special events, and performances back to venues across Stafford and beyond.

Screen B14: Thursday Film Night

The community cinema Screen B14 is back with their monthly Thursday Film Night residency at the Cuban Embassy (The Bulls Head), with the next night will be a screening of Pearl (15) on 21 September 2023. This is an amazing opportunity to build a regular local audience with exclusive film screenings that can’t be found anywhere else.

Birmingham Anime Film Festival

In its inaugural year, Birmingham Anime Film Festival will run from 29 September to 5 October 2023 with screenings in Digbeth and Edgbaston. The festival is organised by The Mockingbird Cinema in partnership with Geeky Brummie, Midlands Art Centre (MAC), and Flatpack Film Festival, sponsored by AllTheAnime.

Caribbean International Film Fest

Launching at the Midlands Arts Centre from 30 September to 1 October, 2023, Caribbean International Film Fest will screen a range of memorable films over an exciting weekend of engaging cinema and community in the West Midlands.

BFI London film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival isn’t exclusive to London. Once again, their fabulous partner cinemas will bring audiences around the UK a thrilling line-up of BFI London Film Festival films. In Birmingham, the MAC will screen a selection of LFF films throughout the beginning of October.

Worcester Film Festival

With year 3 of Worcester Film Festival, they’ll be returning to their prestigious venue at The Royal Porcelain Works and more. They have some big plans for this year from 4-7 October 2023, so get ready for their launch event, film screenings, Q&As, networking evenings, talks, and awards gala.

Short is Beautiful Festival

The exciting new Short is Beautiful Festival, in association with IMA Festival, proudly presented by Solihull Council and Culture Solihull, will take place across 16-17 October at The Core Theatre Solihull, with a programme of industry panels, workshops, and screenings.

Cine Excess

The annual international film festival and conference Cine Excess is back on 18-27 October 2023. Raising Hell: Demons, Darkness and the Abject invites participants to consider both classic and contemporaneous texts and consider their ongoing influence for both film audiences and cinema scholars.

Birmingham Film and TV Market

The Birmingham Film and TV Market provides the opportunity for one-on-one meetings between filmmakers and film & TV investors/ distributors, leading to film & television acquisitions, and production and distribution deals. All taking place on 27 October 2023 in The Grand Hotel.

Reel and Meal

The MAC’s popular Reel & Meal events pair a film from the world of international cinema with a delicious meal that nods to its theme. Upcoming screenings include Jurassic Park 30th Anniversary, Hocus Pocus, and City of God. The events are reminiscent of last month’s first ever Stirchley Film and Food Festival, by Stirchley Open Cinema teamed up with Yuup, who delivered an exciting line-up of films matched to excellent food from local restaurants.

The Black Country Horror Shorts Film Festival

Now in its fourth year, The Black Country Horror Shorts Film Festival by Weeping Bank Productions are proud to present their festival of original short horror films from around the world. Come down to the Ruskin Glass Centre in Stourbridge on 11 November 2023 for a horror-tastic night.

Birmingham Film Festival

Ending the year in the best way with Birmingham Film Festival on 17-26 November 2023, showcasing and recognising talent on a world stage. All screenings and many events are free to attend including features, shorts, documentaries, screen plays, TV pilots, and music videos on the main theatre screen in Millenium Point, as well support events with special guests.

For more details about exciting upcoming industry events in Birmingham and the West-Midlands, visit Film Birmingham’s events page.

For more industry information, visit Film Birmingham’s news page. Or add us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Writers’ festival launched in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome

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Writers’ festival launched in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome

A new festival for stage and screen writers is being launched by Transition Stage Company in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome.

Taking place at Birmingham Hippodrome from January 25 to 27, 2024, StoryTown Festival will include competitions, networking events, and panel discussions.

BBC Writers Room is supporting the festival and will host a free event as part of it.

Further details of the programme are yet to be announced, but it will include other free events and covers multiple genres of writing, including musical theatre.

Transition Theatre Company’s annual script writing competition Enter.Stage.Write will also take place as part of the festival on January 25 and 26, alongside its Amplified competition, which focuses on black, asian and minority comedy writers.

Both competitions will see five shortlisted scripts staged as performances in front of an audience and a panel of judges, followed by an awards ceremony. The winner of each competition will receive a £1,000 prize and a year of writing support.

This year’s judging panel will include creative director at Birmingham Hippodrome Chris Sudworth; director Darcia Martin; producer Lisa Walters; and development executive at Expand Media (Sky Studios) Scott Pope.

Natalie Edward-Yesufu, chief executive of Transition Stage Company and Enter.Stage.Write, said: “It’s vital that writers and storytellers embrace entrepreneurship, knowledge, and collaboration in the face of artificial intelligence and job uncertainty amidst the cost of living crisis.”

“Enter.Stage.Write is our celebration of writers, while StoryTown festival facilitates connections and learning among writers, producers, and storytellers. I’m thrilled to gather individuals from across the UK in Birmingham for this exciting experiment in unity.”

Sudworth added: “We’re delighted to partner with Enter.Stage.Write to showcase exceptional new works in the West Midlands.”

“The programme chimes perfectly with the artist development and producing journey we have begun at the Hippodrome, supporting the creation of work that represents and reflects our great city.”

Edward-Yesufu plans for the festival to continue annually.

Source: The Stage, article by Giverny Masso

Film and TV Charity rolls out extra £0.5million to help UK film, TV, and cinema workers

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Film and TV Charity rolls out unprecedented extra £0.5million to help UK film, TV, and cinema workers in urgent financial need as industry faces critical economic conditions that could devastate the livelihood of professionals, with long term consequences for the industry as a whole.

The Film and TV Charity has confirmed it is adding an additional £500,000 to its existing budget in response to the increase it has seen in applications for support with urgent financial need. Following a briefing call with representatives from its corporate partners, BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, Prime Video, ITV, Hartswood Films, and Banijay have also pledged further donations to bolster the Charity’s budget, adding to donations from other organisations and individuals that have been made during the Charity’s summer campaign. Other partners are expected to add to the overall pot as the challenging period looks set to continue.

The Charity, which supports the mental health and the financial and social wellbeing of people working in behind-the-scenes roles in film, television, and cinema, made the announcement ahead of its incoming CEO, Marcus Ryder MBE, speaking to delegates at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

The move follows an 800% rise in applications for stop-gap grants in July 2023 compared to the same month in 2022 and is also in response to emerging evidence that workers across the industry are exposed to financial insecurity that can negatively impact their mental health, with a wide range of current and more systemic contributing factors causing a perfect storm for many.

The Charity’s recent survey looking at the financial resilience of industry workers shows that 46% of respondents had zero or less than £1,000 in savings and half aren’t contributing to a pension. People from marginalised groups were more likely to be affected, with carers, Black and Global Majority, and Disabled workers often finding it even harder to navigate current financial pressures with higher levels of debt and lower household incomes. Insights from the survey will be presented and examined during the Charity’s Edinburgh session, entitled Production under pressure: Supporting life on the frontline, featuring Ryder; financial wellbeing and inclusion consultant and Film and TV Charity Trustee, Kirsty Good; and Dean Webster, Head of Development at Ten66.

The Film and TV Charity encourages anyone who is dealing with financial worries, debt or who is experiencing mental health concerns to contact its free, 24/7 Film and TV Support Line by calling 0800 054 0000 or by visiting There they can access tools and advice to support their financial wellbeing, as well as check their eligibility and apply for urgent financial support.

Source: Film and TV Charity

Kudos Knight options Fringe play for Birmingham slate

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Kudos Knight options Fringe play for Birmingham slate

Nathan Queeley-Dennis’ debut takes in various West Midlands cultural touch points.

Kudos Knight’s West Midlands-focused slate has yielded its first project under newly appointed Rem Conway, with a story about a young Black Brummie’s fraught love life.

Broadcast can reveal that the partnership has optioned Nathan Queeley-Dennis’ 2023 Edinburgh Fringe play Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz and is in the early stages of developing a drama out of the show.

Bullring Techno Makeout Jamz is Queeley-Dennis’ debut work, for which he won the 2022 Bruntwood Prize for playwrighting. It follows the story of Nathaniel as he explores the tricky world of dating around his locales in Birmingham.

Nathaniel, a serious romantic, views love as a fine art and is looking for a suitable match. During his journey of self-discovery Nathaniel explores Black masculinity through Beyonce lyrics, live music experiences and the deeply intimate relationship a man has with his barber.

The coming-of-age story takes audiences to different cultural touchpoints in the West Midlands including raves in Digbeth, the Rotunda and – specifically – the McDonald’s in New Street Station.

The title from theatre company Paines Plough, which has just completed its run at the Roundabout at Summerhall in Edinburgh to positive reviews, had been brought to Kudos Knight prior to Conway’s appointment as development producer earlier this month. But the Sex Education, My Name is Leon and Riches producer was immediately taken by the script and is working with Queeley-Dennis on the project.

The playwright and actor was born and raised in Erdington, Birmingham. His performance credits including Black Love (Kiln Theatre) written by Chinonyerem Odimba, and Really Big and Really Loud (Paines Plough) written by Phoebe Eclair-Powell.

Kudos Knight, set up by the Banijay label and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, has ambitious plans to grow a world-renowned scripted production hub in the West Midlands, and is already prepping Knight’s historical music drama This Town for the BBC.

Conway has been brought in to spearhead a local development slate of dramas to be produced in Birmingham using local talent and stories.

Speaking to Broadcast at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Conway and Kudos co-managing director Martin Haines talked up the importance of securing pipeline for the Digbeth Loc-based Kudos Knight, to help underscore its reputation as a hub for local programming.

Source: Broadcast – Article by John Elmes