Northern Docs launched to support documentaries in the North

Posted on 11th September 2018

Northern Docs is a new initiative to support documentary film making in the North of England. Backed by a range of partners, including the BBC, Northern Docs has been established as a community interest company to support northern based talent and aims to help increase the amount of factual output from the North.

Northern Docs is launching with a BBC talent development scheme for budding doc makers based in the region. An open call for short form ideas, from those without a directing credit from a national broadcaster, has been announced.

A shortlist of six finalists will receive mentoring and input on their projects and two successful applicants will have the chance to get their ideas made and shown on BBC Three. The deadline for proposals is October 12.

Northern Docs will be holding an industry panel event at Home in Manchester on September 25th to give more details of the scheme, with input and guidance from BBC Commissioners on what ideas work best for the BBC Three audience.

Additional information is also available on the Northern Docs website (

Across the industry, there has been wide acknowledgement of the under representation of Northern voices within the documentary sector. Modelled on the highly successful Scottish Documentary Institute, Northern Docs is designed to help address the problem: facilitating creative expression and allowing Northern voices to speak, report and interpret the world for local, national and global audiences.

The initiative was developed by Manchester film maker Mike Todd who has been an active advocate for greater support for doc film makers in the North. Todd stated that:

“Despite the undoubted success stories that exist, there remain real structural challenges for documentary storytellers who seek to build a career outside London. We’re hoping that Northern Docs can help support and nurture talent and improve the documentary eco-system that exists in this part of the country.”

Speaking of their support for the initiative, the BBC’s Head of Factual Alison Kirkham stated that:

The BBC is committed to diversity in all its forms and it is important to us that our programmes represent on and off screen voices from around the UK. I’m really excited about embracing this opportunity to support the next generation of filmmakers in the North of England. 

Northern Docs is also being supported by the University of Bolton, who will provide a home for the organisation and offer administrative and organisational support. Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Kondal Kandadi said that:

“”As a University with a strong focus on the creative industries, we are committed to working in innovative ways to support projects that provide employment and career development opportunities for our students and the wider population.”

The initiative has a range of senior and experienced documentary professionals on its advisory board who have backed Northern Docs’ mission.


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