Scots TV talent unveil broadcast content commissions

Edinburgh-based Aries Film and TV is set to adapt Scots writer Anne Donovan’s critically acclaimed debut novel Buddha Da for TV, with new investment from Screen Scotland.

A co-production led by Pamela Hansson of Aries Film and TV and Ian Benson of new TV production company Blue Bear Film and Television, the hard-edged, soft-centred domestic comedywill be adapted by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writer, Danny Brocklehurst (Safe, Come Home, Ordinary Lies). The novel is set in Glasgow and is a hard-edged, soft-centred comedy drama with a message of tolerance and compromise.

Blue Bear Film and Television is a new production company based in Manchester owned by The Agency, one of the UK's leading talent agencies, business affairs specialists, Big Deal and Creative England. Blue Bear supports key creative talent using the wide experience and resources of its team and is developing a slate of films and television series with several of its leading writers and directors.

Ian Benson says: “we are delighted to be partnering with Pamela at Aries Film and TV on adapting Buddha Da, a book we’ve been passionate about for many years. Danny has been a fan of the book for as long as we have, and we’re thrilled to be working with him on the project. Screen Scotland’s support is invaluable to us!”

Aries Film and TV is one of five Scotland-based production companies producing new drama, entertainment and factual broadcast content with backing through the latest round of Screen Scotland’s Broadcast Content Fund awards.

Aries Film and TV led by producer Pamela Hansson, who previously worked as a producer for BBC Drama and as a development producer for companies including Universal, has also received funding towards early stage development of Scotland-set genre series, The Island. With filming taking place in Scotland, Gaumont, the company behind Tin Star and Narcos will be executive producers on the series.

Pamela Hansson of Aries Film and TV said: “This support from Screen Scotland has helped me to attract high quality partners in company building collaborations, to champion bold new Scottish voices and have maximum flexibility and opportunity by being able to autonomously develop projects to ensure they find the ideal home.”

Alan Clements’ new TV production company Two Rivers Media will use funding to support a new co-production with adaptation specialists Awesome Media and Entertainment bringing Susan Hill’s novel The Small Hand: A Ghost Story to Channel 5 as a feature length drama.

Clements commented: “Two Rivers is delighted to be making its first drama with fantastic support from Screen Scotland. I’m so pleased to be building a top-class creative team, all based in Scotland, with the aim of creating an indigenous company of scale and Screen Scotland have been really supportive of that ambition from the outset.”

Red Sky Productions (Puppy School, Island Medics, The Family Doctors) has received funding to support the new Channel 4-commissioned, three-part factual entertainment series, Can Jimmy Save the Bees? (working title).  Currently in production, the company’s second Channel 4 project in a year follows Jimmy Doherty (Food Unwrapped, Jimmy’s Farm, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast) on a mission to radically improve the local bee population.

Red Sky’s Ross Harper commented: “We’re delighted to have Screen Scotland’s significant investment in this project. Our ambition for Red Sky is to win big popular factual commissions, which in turn will help to support and develop Scotland’s talented production community. The Broadcast Content Fund is an excellent initiative and it has allowed us to supersize our idea and ensure genuine legacy.”

Other awards include thosemade to Solus Productions (Elaine C Smith’s Burdz Eye View, McQueen of Scots) to support slate development of new ideas across both factual and scripted drama; high-end factual specialists Finestripe Productions (The Day We Walked on the Moon, Pregnant and Platonic) to support a six-month intensive development process to enable the company led by Katie Lander and Sue Summers to research new documentary formats and ideas.

"I’m so pleased to be building a top-class creative team, all based in Scotland"

“Two Rivers is delighted to be making its first drama with fantastic support from Screen Scotland. I’m so pleased to be building a top-class creative team, all based in Scotland, with the aim of creating an indigenous company of scale and Screen Scotland have been really supportive of that ambition from the outset.”

Alan Clements
Managing Director, Two Rivers Media

Since 2018, £4.2m has been allocated to production and development projects from Screen Scotland’s £3m-a-year Broadcast Content Fund. These awards include dark comedy Guilt from Happy Tramp North (BBC Scotland and BBC Two), wildlife documentary Stormborn from Maramedia (BBC Scotland) and children’s animation The Adventures of Honey and Leon from Once Were Farmers.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture said: “I am impressed by the range of diverse and creative productions supported by Screen Scotland’s Broadcast Content funding over the past year, which demonstrates the breadth and depth of talent in Scotland’s screen sector.

“As well as supporting high-quality productions, this funding gives independent production companies the time and space needed to bring ambitious and imaginative projects to life, developing a strong pipeline of must-watch programmes.”

Isabel Davis, Executive Director at Screen Scotland said: “From drama adaptations and a supernatural thriller to an environmental factual documentary, the awards announced today reflect the cross-genre support we have been able to provide in the first year of the Broadcast Content Fund.

“Our continued ambition through this fund is to back ambitious Scottish indies to scale their ideas and bring new content to market, providing key development opportunities for Scottish talent and crew and growing Scotland’s reputation as an international hub for returnable - and internationally sellable-series.”

Company

Project

Awarded Amount

Aries Film & TV

The Island

£49,800

Blue Bear Film and TV

Buddha Da

£50,000

Finestripe Productions

Intensive Development Period

£76,220

Red Sky Productions

Can Jimmy Save the Bees? (working title)

£300,000

Solus Productions

Slate Development

£60,800

Two Rivers Media

The Small Hand

£300,000

Total funding awarded in this funding round is £836,820.

Notes to Editors

The Broadcast Content Fund is a rolling £3million fund, accepting applications for all genres of broadcast content including factual and scripted programming.  The Fund is central to Screen Scotland’s plan to increase the number and diversity of film and television productions from Scotland and build sustainability in the sector.

Funding guidance and application forms are available here.

Screen Scotland is the dedicated partnership for screen in Scotland.  With funding from Scottish Government and the National Lottery, Screen Scotland is driving the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of the sector in Scotland, through enhanced funding, services and support.

Media Contact

Eilidh Walker
Media Relations and PR Officer- Screen
T: 0131 523 0019
M: 07545 402 064
Eilidh.Walker@creativescotland.com