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C21May iPad

Big Talk opens Manchester office

ITV Studios-owned UK prodco Big Talk Productions is opening a permanent base in Manchester to be run by executive producer Kathryn O’Connor.

Big Talk North will increase the company’s presence in North West England, where it has already filmed three seasons of Cold Feet for ITV, two seasons of Raised by Wolves for Channel 4 and Houdini & Doyle for ITV and Fox, among others.

O’Connor, who was born in Yorkshire and now lives in Manchester, has previously worked on drama series in the region including Jimmy McGovern’s The Street, Coronation Street, Heartbeat and Vincent as a development producer at ITV Studios.

Big Talk North will also build on its long-standing relationship with producer Margaret Conway and line producer Helen Blyth, who will continue to work closely with the company.

Big Talk CEO Kenton Allen, who previously established BBC Comedy North, 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.”

It’s the latest example of the UK television industry spreading its wings away from its traditional London base. Last week, commercially funded public broadcaster Channel 4 announced a new headquarters in Leeds as well as creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow, following years of pressure to be more representative of the so-called nations and regions.

Multi-channel broadcaster UKTV and production outfit Lime Pictures have also announced plans to open offices in Leeds, in the north of England, in the last week.

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