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C4 hires Screen Yorkshire exec for fund

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has appointed a senior Screen Yorkshire executive as senior portfolio manager for its Indie Growth Fund.

Hugo Heppell

Hugo Heppell will manage the fund’s interests in a portfolio of companies in which Channel 4 has invested.

He takes on his new role in April and will work alongside senior portfolio manager Caroline Percy and team coordinator Rhianne Deans and report to the head of the Indie Growth Fund, Caroline Murphy.

Heppell joins the fund from Leeds-based funding body Screen Yorkshire, where he has worked for 16 years. He helped establish the Yorkshire Content Fund as a significant investor in films and TV dramas such as Peaky Blinders, National Treasure and, most recently, Official Secrets.

With Heppell’s appointment, the Indie Growth Fund has completed its relocation from London to the broadcaster’s new national HQ in Leeds.

Heppell said: “From [C4 dramas] This Is England to Ackley Bridge via Red Riding, it has always been a pleasure working with Channel 4, and I’m excited to join the Indie Growth Fund. It has been a privilege to have worked for Screen Yorkshire, finding great projects and helping the region to grow to the point that Channel 4 chose to base its national HQ in Leeds.”

The Indie Growth Fund was launched in 2014 to provide additional support to the UK independent creative sector by helping local indies to develop their business.

It has made 17 investments to date and there are now 10 companies in the portfolio: Eagle Eye, Eleven Film, Firecrest Films, Five Mile Films, Lightbox Media, Parable, Spelthorne Community Television, True Vision Yorkshire, Two Rivers Media, and Voltage TV.

Earlier this week Channel 4 sold its stake in sports-specialist prodco Whisper to Sony Pictures Television for an undisclosed figure.

In related news, Channel 4 has ordered a 30×30’ run of its Beat the Chef format for its daytime schedule.

The series is produced by ITV Studios-owned Twofour and Motion Content Group and sees amateur cooks go head-to-head against award-winning chefs Mark Sargeant, Frederick Forster, Hrishikesh Desai and Sophie Michell in fast-paced cook-offs to win a cash prize.

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