Belfast-based Tern and Newry-based Big Mountain Productions have each secured commissions for Channel 4, part funded by Northern Ireland Screen.

The two independent production companies answered a brief from Head of Daytime and Features, Jo Street.

Big Mountain has been commissioned to make a new four-part series, The Country House Auction for More 4, whilst Tern is to celebrate Tiny Islands over four episodes for Channel 4.

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “Last year we entered a partnership with Channel 4 to support and grow the production sector in Northern Ireland. The More4 Northern Ireland scheme was designed to find a new returnable commission for a local indie. It is testament to the wealth of creative talent we have here that we are now announcing not one, but two commissions. Our congratulations go to Tern and Big Mountain, and we look forward to seeing both shows when they hit our screens.”

Jo Street, Channel 4’s Head of Daytime and Features, said, “From Derry Girls to Britain’s Most Expensive Houses, we are proud to have a long and collaborative relationship with the brilliant indies in Northern Ireland. It is great to commission not one but two creative new series with our partners at Northern Ireland Screen.”

Belfast based Tern TV will celebrate the Britain’s tiniest islands in a new four-part series for Channel 4, Tiny Islands.

According to the Ordnance Survey, there are 6289 islands scattered across our waters but only 803 are large enough to be drawn on a map and even fewer of these islands are inhabited.

Across each episode, the show will look at the past inhabitants and meet the people, from farmers and fisherman, artists and monks, who live and work on these rugged landscapes today as well as delving into the local history and sharing the traditions and folklore of the communities who live there.

Head of Tern, Belfast, Brendan Hughes said: “It is exciting to be working with Jo Street, Deborah and Naomi again. As a Nations indie we take pride in highlighting those smaller communities who are hidden in plain sight. They are there if we look for them. In Tiny Islands we will hit a sweet spot mixing beautiful locations with truly engaging people.”

Naomi Rose said “This visually arresting series will offer our viewers a trip around the British isles, meeting the communities who build lives and businesses in these remote corners of the UK. We are excited to be working with Tern to bring this celebratory series to viewers.”

Tiny Islands was commissioned for Channel 4 by commissioning editors, Deborah Dunnett and Naomi Rose with Head of Daytime and Features, Jo Street. Brendan Hughes is the Executive Producer for Tern Television. The series was co-funded by Northern Ireland Screen.

Each episode of The Country House Auction will follow a selection of unique items as they are brought to auction from stately home clearances, castles or private collections. Past owners and prospective rival buyers will share why the objects are so important to them as antiques experts will offer their view on the value and significance of each item.

Jane Kelly said, “We are thrilled to bring The Country House Auction to life for C4 viewers and will be working hard to make sure this can be a returning brand for the channel, for the company and for the sector here in Northern Ireland. We applaud Northern Ireland Screen and C4 for the More4NI initiative and for creating business opportunities that tap the enormous creativity and ambition here”.

Clemency Green said of the commission, “This brilliant new series gives us all the chance to learn about some uniquely special items, and the secrets they reveal about our past, whilst also offering viewers the chance to see the thrill of the auction in a glorious setting. The series will offer viewers the chance to learn more about antiques and the shrewd and colourful characters; sellers, experts and buyers along the way. I am so pleased to be working with Big Mountain on this exciting new format.”

The four-part series The Country House Auction was commissioned for Channel 4 by Senior Commissioning Editor, Clemency Green with Head of Daytime and Features, Jo Street. Jane Kelly is the Executive Producer for Big Mountain. The series was co-funded by Northern Ireland Screen.

Jon Creamer

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