Matthew Neville

Durham County Council set to join £36m investment in North East TV and film industry

A North East council which is spearheading a bid for UK City of Culture status looks set to invest in order to help the TV and film industry grow across the region.

Durham County Council is leading County Durham’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025, which made a national shortlist of just four locations from the 20 initially in the running earlier this month.

The council is now poised to join with other authorities in the region, the BBC and Northern Film + Media in a partnership which promises to deliver investment in the industry of more than £36m.

A meeting of the council’s Cabinet next week will also hear that the partnership will help realise plans within the UK City of Culture bid for the growth of the industry in County Durham.

That bid already has support in the world of TV and film, with Mike Smith, chief executive of Uplands Television and producer of BBC One show The Great North Passion, and broadcaster and historian David Olusoga, having given their backing.

The meeting next Wednesday will hear that the partnership came about as a result of the BBC’s commitment to increasing production outside of London by 10 per cent by 2028, the equivalent to £700m of expenditure.

Through this strategy, the BBC is seeking to ensure increased representation of communities throughout the UK across all BBC platforms, and increase commissioning spend across the nations and regions.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, the council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “This partnership with the BBC, other authorities in the region and Northern Film + Media is a crucial part of our UK City of Culture plans as well as our economic strategy.

“The partnership will help unlock the creative talent in our county and across the North East, offering opportunities for jobs and training as well as showcasing County Durham to the world on our screens.

“Growing our TV and film industry can only help with that and we very much look forward to what will be achieved through this partnership and hopefully being named UK City of Culture 2025 putting our place and people firmly in the spotlight.”

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