Leading TV production company Endemol Shine opens base in west Belfast, creating 9 jobs

Innovation Factory centre manager Anna McDonnell with Anne Stirling and Michelle Walsh, the two Northern Ireland women heading up the new Belfast office of TV production company DSP
Gareth McKeown

A LEADING TV production company has opened an office in west Belfast, creating nine jobs.

Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP), part of the global Endemol Shine group, has moved into the Innovation Factory on the Springfield as it looks to establish a Northern Ireland base to make original programmes.

The Belfast office is headed up by local women, Anne Stirling and Michelle Walsh and the production firm has already begun working on projects.

The company has filmed a new drama in Belfast about the early lives of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. ‘Torvill and Dean', which stars Game of Thrones actor, Will Tudor, Poppy Lee Friar from Ackley Bridge and former East Enders star Anita Dobson

will be screened on ITV later this year.

Other projects include a two-hour period murder mystery that will debut on Channel Five at Christmas, a fashion show for RTÉ called The Fitting Room and a three-part drama documentary series for BBC4 on Charles I.

Ms Stirling said the west Belfast base at the Innovation Factory provides valuable flexibility for work.

“We needed an office that would be flexible to suit our requirements. When we are working on a drama we need to quickly increase our office space," she said.

“There are nine of us working here, but whenever we go onto a drama we have about 60 freelance crew and cast working on it so flexibility is essential. Most of the cast and crew are from here and it is an opportunity for them to step up a grade and get the network credits that take people to another level.”

With 25 years of experience in the industry, Ms Sterling believes more international companies will look to Northern Ireland as a base for their operations.

“There is a fantastic legacy here of really high end technicians who have come off the back of Game of Thrones. The key is to continue to have high quality production work providing employment to these skilled professionals," she added.

Innovation Factory director, Majella Barkley welcomed the new tenant to the business hub.

“It is great to see a leading global company in the creative sector locate in West Belfast. We would encourage other creative industries to check out this part of the city and see what we have to offer in terms of convenience, a talented workforce and technical support.”

The Innovation Factory is owned by Belfast City Council and operated on their behalf by Oxford Innovation. The £9.1m hub was funded by Belfast City Council and Invest NI with support from the European Regional Development Fund.

Customers include a range of start-ups and growing businesses in a variety of sectors including digital services, creative industries, business services, financial services and research and development.

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