The history and evolution of Video Production in Newcastle and the North East can be traced back almost 100 years. Peoples first opinions regarding Newcastle may lean more towards football obsessed fans, friendly folk, the numerous famous bridges that cross the river Tyne. Some may only think of sausage rolls and steak bakes from the Northern institute that is Greggs.

However, we are more than that here in this picturesque region. Did you know, for example, that the Newcastle Amateur Cinematographers Association is in fact the oldest film and video club currently operating in the world. The ACA was established in 1927, around the same time audio was introduced to the cinema. Considering the North-Easts humble working class background it may come as a surprise that something deemed an expensive hobby such as videography had such a following here.

Where is all began

A key part of Newcastle’s video history was a keen videographer named James Cameron. No, not him of Avatar and Titanic fame. Cameron was responsible for assembling a small group of men and women who took the new process of moving pictures seriously. He created the Newcastle branch of ACA and held their first meeting in London not long after its establishment. The associations main focus was to create story films, and within two years they moved towards making major movies. Their first mainstream piece of work being a local production by the name of “Bon Adventure”. After which they continued creating successful productions, and later moved onto documentaries highlighting the goings on of the North-East.

Why film in Newcastle

Newcastle, and the North-East as a whole, may be slight in terms of size. However, it certainly offers enough in beauty and culture to allow video production to continue to thrive in its wonder. Some of the nations favourite movies and tv series have been made here. Perhaps the accents gave that away already. It is important to note that video production in Newcastle goes beyond the big (and small) screens. Many adverts have been produced in the beautiful rolling hills of Northumberland. With more world renowned businesses using Newcastle as their hub, more work is being produced here.

Success from the North East

When we look at movies and tv series created in the North-East, the likes of Vera, Byker Grove and Geordie Shore come to mind. And rightly so as the size of these warrant your attention. Byker Grove for example went on for 18 series, taking it through three decades. It also helped catapult the careers of a number of Newcastle’s most famous faces, including Ant & Dec, Jill and Chelsea Halfpenny and Hollywood star Charlie Hunham.

Vera has just been commissioned for its 11th series, and Geordie Shore is as popular as ever. Beyond these usual names, it’s hard to bypass wonderful series such as The Likely Lads, which portrays life as a working class northerner in the 1960’s. Splender, created by and starring the wonderful Jimmy Nail. Also, of more recent times, Hebburn, filmed on location in Hebburn and starring North-East stars Chris Ramsey, Jim Noir and Gina McKee.

The Big Screen

The North-East has also proven its capability of producing for the big screen. One of the earliest examples being a film called “On the Night of the Fire”.  Which was released shortly after the beginning of world war two. The movie was an early example of cynical style productions which concentrated on the bitter motives of characters. Perhaps the most famous movie to have been shot in our region is “Get Carter” starring Michael Caine. The movie was a box office success, and left a legacy in the Newcastle/Gateshead for its scene on the High Level Bridge and at the old Trinity Square carpark, which was finally demolished in 2010 – much to the dismay of many locals.

The North-East isn’t afraid to showcase its famous geordie accent in productions either. Movies such as “Purely Belter”, “Goal” and “I, Daniel Blake” take advantage of our local dialect to help create the mood of the production. With the geordie accent being renowned across the UK, it truly contributes to the storytelling features in these movies.

A growing economy

Newcastle’s offerings don’t stop there! Many renowned businesses are setting up or relocating to our wonderful area. The likes of Tommee Tippee now reside in Newcastle. A selection of their new line of adverts and features & benefits videos being created here by our own team of experts. Starting with their For The Love of Sleep campaign, shot in 2020, launching their new sleep range offerings. So next to you see a baby using a Tommee Tippee product just remember how The Toon helped contribute.

Taking Newcastle wherever we go

It isn’t just local businesses that require a North-East video production company. We have produced for multiple international clients, and continue travelling the world to film beautiful content. Working with Anantara alone has given us many opportunities to travel, from their Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort in Northern Thailand, to their Villa Padierna Palace Benahavis Marbella Resort in Spain. 

So there you have it, a brief summary of video production in Newcastle. An up-and-coming business hub with an ever-growing hotbed of talent. The work of this city can be seen all over the world, in all aspects of business. We alone stretch from baby bottles to elephant sanctuaries and beyond. The world is there to be seen on screen, and the North-East is helping make this happen.

Patrick Finlay