Graeme Thompson

Our Friend in the North East: Graeme Thompson

Graeme Thompson (Credit: University of Sunderland)

In our case it was a room on the top floor of Sunderland’s new City Hall. In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stage musical Hamilton, it was a house in Lower Manhattan. But on both occasions, key players gathered to shape the future. 

No one really knows how the game is played 

The art of the trade 

How the sausage gets made 

We just assume that it happens 

But no one else is in the room where it happens

Our Friend in the North East: Graeme Thompson

The spectacular North East coast is a popular location for TV and film. Right now, its castles, cliffs and endless sandy beaches are playing host to ITV’s Vera and at least two Hollywood movies.

But location work – though good for the tourist trade – isn’t enough to sustain the region’s screen sector, which has never really recovered from two decades of successive rounds of BBC and ITV cuts.

Graeme Thompson's TV diary

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) & Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) (Credit: Sky/HBO)

To Belfast for the weekend, staying at a Titanic-themed hotel next door to the studios where HBO films Game of Thrones. The charred battlements visible above the lot are a clue to how the final episodes play out.

Over eight seasons, Game of Thrones has spent more than €320m in Northern Ireland. In addition to the Titanic Studios, there’s another studio in Belfast Harbour filming a Superman spin-off.

Hit TV shows filmed in Northumberland are driving a local non-media industry


We are in the wintry Northumberland countryside to celebrate Burns Night with friends on the lakeside at Kielder Water – a vast man-made reservoir surrounded by dense forest. Surprisingly, the chatter is not about the imminent delights of haggis, bagpipes and single malt, or the excitement of gathering beneath the darkest skies in Northern Europe – so prized by stargazers.

Graeme Thompson: Our friend in the North East

You wait years for big news about TV in the regions. And then in quick succession at the Nations and Regions Media Festival in Salford, along comes not one, but two major announcements about production outside London.

First Sharon White from Ofcom talked about the challenging quotas she was imposing on the BBC in her new role as the corporation’s regulator.