Yorkshire is well and truly on the map when it comes to TV production, with many-a top title produced right here in the region.
The Leeds City Region is home to loads of internationally-acclaimed production companies who’ve made a name for themselves on the screens of viewers worldwide. From queer-owned startups and female-founded indies to BAFTA-winning teams and film companies owned by global powerhouses, these are the most exciting TV production companies the region has to offer.
Duck Soup is an independent TV production company based right here in Leeds. The female-founded firm champions the voices of underrepresented talent, bringing their stories to life through bold and thought-provoking content. The company has been backed by Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, which invests in UK-based creative SMEs to help them grow and develop.
Prior to setting up Duck Soup, founders Bekki Wray-Rogers, Libby Durdy and Jessica Brown Meek helped produce and line produce internationally-acclaimed titles, including BAFTA-winning UK drama ‘This is England’ and HBO’s Emmy award-winning ‘Utopia’. Duck Soup are currently producing their first commission for BBC One and BBC iPlayer – Lost Boys and Fairies is a four-part drama series set in Wales.
Founded in 2022, True North has grown to become the biggest non-scripted independent production company in the North of England. With titles spanning factual, children’s television, reality and more, diversity is key at True North, and this is reflected in its values, which centre around authenticity, inclusivity and empowerment.
With a history of producing long-running series that delight viewers in the UK and beyond, True North has built a fantastic reputation in the industry. Titles include BBC’s ‘Animal SOS’, Channel 4’s ‘A New Life in the Sun’ and MTV’s ‘Teen Mom UK’. In 2017, Sky acquired majority shares in the company, helping to further bolster ambitious growth plans.
Northern Fortress is an award-winning grassroots production company that tells socially-conscious Northern stories. Founded in 2021 by Louisa Rose Mackleston, Northern Fortress is passionate about diversity and representation, helping shine a light on people from different backgrounds who may not always be represented in mainstream media.
Another key focus is their desire rebrand the North itself – by letting Northerners tell their own stories and shooting on location right here in the North, authenticity is put front and centre. The company’s key project to date has been the acclaimed short film ‘Ruth & Safiya’, which tells the story of a friendship between an isolated Skipton pensioner and a Syrian refugee.
Multi-award winning production company Wise Owl has brought a team of renowned programme makers to Leeds, forming a formidable Northern outfit. Producing popular titles such as ‘Yorkshire Firefighters’ and ‘Second-Hand for 50 Grand’, Wise Owl’s passion is to celebrate Britain’s popular culture and surprising social histories.
Wise Owl has a key focus on youth development, even launching its own youth division – Hoot. Hoot is positioned to empower young creators with the confidence, technical skills and pitching opportunities required to bring their ideas to life. This close-knit team is one of the North’s hottest digital production labels, pitching on topical issues such as race, LGBTQ+ and climate change.
Daisybeck has been producing top quality non-scripted programming since 2013. Owned by Entertainment One, the Leeds-based production company heads up the factual division of the global entertainment firm. Daisybeck operates out of Prime Studios on Kirkstall Road, giving it access to state of the art production facilities.
With a mission to produce contemporary content that puts its characters’ heart and soul at the centre of each and every programme, Daisybeck has a proud Yorkshire heritage, and this is reflected in its productions. Their big name title is popular Channel 5 season ‘The Yorkshire Vet’, which follows veterinarians as they attend to animals in need from their practice up in the town of Thirsk.
Talkinglens is an award-winning film production company based in Leeds. Their films tackle serious issues with sensitivity, helping to move, entertain and inform audiences. One of the company’s key passions is to offer opportunities for local talent, consistently offering internships and placements to both recent graduates and young people coming into the industry for the first time.
Bringing together local and international talent, the Talkinglens team produce feature films with global appeal. Past productions include full-length anthology horror ‘The Visit’, set in the Yorkshire Dales, and black comedy ‘Ask the Cheat’, which picked up a slew of awards, including best feature at the Birmingham Film Festival in 2019.
Rollem is a production company with a difference – female-led, genuinely independent and based in Leeds. Set up in 2000 by the late BAFTA award-winning writer Kay Mellor OBE to produce ITV’s ‘Fat Friends’, Rollem has gone on to produce a host of hit dramas including ‘The Syndicate’, ‘Girlfriends’ and ‘In The Club’. Not to mention the award-winning My Left Nut.
Championing new writers and creative talent is a key passion of Rollem, as the company strives to solidify its position as one of Yorkshire’s leading indie drama producers. The focus for the future is to deliver its commissioned projects, distribute its extensive back catalogue and continue to develop fresh, exciting regional voices shine a spotlight on Yorkshire and the North of England.