Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Below the Radar goes up the Alps into the hands of Blakeway Productions (ok, you write a better headline!)

Below the Radar logo

Lunchtime’s email from Broadcast brings news that local factual independent producer Below the Radar have been acquired by Blakeway Productions (itself a subsidiary of Bob Geldof’s Ten Alps).

As the BBC and Channel 4 increase the level of network (ie, not local) productions made in the nations and regions (rather than in London) it’s always been expected that some of the bigger UK indies would start to gobble up (ahem, invest in) smaller local indies and move where the broadcasters’ money was going.

Blakeway already have a northern division, north of England that is, with offices in Manchester and Derby. So adding Ireland to the roster is a natural extension west. Time will tell whether other local indies will tie up with the bigger players, consolidating the disparate but colourful local production market.

Publicity still from The Honeymooners, (c) 2008 BBC

While you mightn’t immediately recognise the name Below the Radar, you’re more likely to remember their BBC 1 Northern Ireland programme The Honeymooners shown last year which took a look at the relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuiness. Dr Peter Collett came to on-screen prominence as an expert in the first series of Big Brother. Here, Collett applied the same behavioural psychology to look behind the Chuckle Brothers to give viewers an insight into what was really going on between the pair.

Below the Radar also sponsored the talk by Sir Jeremy Isaacs on Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) as part of the 2008 Belfast Festival.

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