Channel 4 Commissions Series from Northern Ireland Indies


Channel 4 has commissioned projects, part funded by Northern Ireland Screen, from Belfast-based Tern TV and Newry-based Big Mountain Productions.

Among the newly ordered series is Tiny Islands, a four-parter that will celebrate Britain’s smallest islands and teach viewers about their past inhabitants, local history and current residents. Tern will produce the series.

“It is exciting to be working with Jo Street, Deborah and Naomi again,” said Brendan Hughes, head of Tern in Belfast. “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, commissioning editor at Channel 4, added, “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 U.K. We are excited to be working with Tern to bring this celebratory series to viewers.”

Channel 4 has also commissioned The Country House Auction, to be produced by Big Mountain Productions. Each episode will follow a selection of one-of-a-kind items as they are brought to auction from stately home clearances, castles and private collections. Past owners and prospective rival buyers will share why the objects are so important to them, and antiques experts will offer their view on the value and significance of each item.

“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,” said Jane Kelly, creative director of Big Mountain Productions. “We applaud Northern Ireland Screen and C4 for the More4NI initiative and for creating business opportunities that tap the enormous creativity and ambition here.”

“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,” added Clemency Green, senior commissioning editor at Channel 4. “The series will offer viewers the chance to learn more about antiques and the shrewd and colorful characters, sellers, experts and buyers along the way. I am so pleased to be working with Big Mountain on this exciting new format.”

Richard Williams, chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said of the commissions, “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.”