Media release: 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 Blue Bear Film and Television – the production arm of talent agency, The Agency – the hard-edged, soft-centred domestic comedy will be adapted by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning Danny Brocklehurst (Safe, Come Home, Ordinary Lies).

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 those made 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.

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  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 for 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.

For information about our new and enhanced funds for film and TV, and everything you need to know about filming in Scotland, please visit:  @screenscots

Media contact:

Eilidh Walker

Media relations and PR officer- Screen

T: 0131 523 0019

M: 07545 402 064

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