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29/09/2006

Belfast office opens as Scottish Indie Tern Television expands

Tern Television, one of Scotland's largest and most successful independent production companies, has announced its expansion into Northern Ireland with the opening of a new office in Belfast.
It is believed to be the first time an independent production company from one Nation has expanded directly into another Nation, without a London presence.
Tern TV Northern Ireland will be headed by former BBC Producer Alison Millar. The new office follows Tern's ongoing success in Northern Ireland with hit show 'The Greenmount Garden', based on the format of Tern's long-standing BBC Scotland brand The Beechgrove Garden. Taking such a successful format from its Nation of origin to another has proved hugely successful and The Greenmount Garden has been recommissioned for a third series by BBC Northern Ireland Commissioning Editor Fergus Keeling. It is due to air in spring 2007.
David Strachan, Joint Managing Director commented: "Growth is on everyones minds, whether its organic or otherwise. But at a time when consolidation is the hot topic and the perception has been given that regional producers find it hard to grow without the help of London bases, Tern shows growth is possible while remaining true to our origins.
"Northern Ireland was the natural choice for us, given our proven success in producing The Greenmount Garden for the BBC. Strategically, this also fits with our plans for the business, which have always been about producing network programmes for UK broadcasters whilst retaining our genuine regional identity."
Tern NI has also secured its first commission. Bulleseye Belles, a 1x40min documentary, commissioned by Fergus Keeling for BBC Northern Ireland, follows a group of working class women who form a competitive darts team from across the sectarian divide. It is produced by Alison Millar and is due to deliver March 2007.
Alison Millar, Head of Tern NI commented: "Northern Ireland is full of talent. In the same way they have done in Scotland, I am keen for Tern to develop opportunities for NI talent to show what they can do, and help make programmes which win audiences and make a difference. Im delighted to be joining such an exciting company."
Alison Millar, originally from Northern Ireland, has fifteen years experience as a producer/director based in London where she worked for independent production companies Brighter Pictures and Diverse before moving to the BBC Documentary Department for four years. She has gained over 30 network credits including 'A Hard Day's Fight' (BBC 2), 'Real Life Desperate Housewives' (FIVE), 'Love in Leeds' (C4). Alison returned to Northern Ireland in 2003 where she was one of the first to be selected for the prestigious BBC Executive Producer Development Scheme.
Tern TVs expansion is supported by the Northern Ireland Film and TV Commission through their Product Development Fund.
(DS/SP)
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