“When we’ve had a success, we analyse it and build on it and make sure that everyone knows that part of our creative approach is down to a particular person or team.”
Number of employees 154 (25 full-time)
Key shows Junior Vets; The Lie Detective; Teen Mom UK
Creative directors (years in position) Andrew Sheldon (15); Jess Fowle (15)
Variety of output; inclusive atmosphere; staff trusted and rewarded
- Jess Fowle, creative director
How do you spot talent and develop members of the team?
Our talent exec Sallie Leak runs talent nights, where people can come to our base and have a drink and a chat. We look for people who are prepared to stick their neck out. When our shooting PD Lee Chapman made the case that we should buy a drone and he’d take his drone licence, we bit his hand off. When our edit assistant John Beadnell displayed some creative graphics skills, we invested in courses and kit for him.
How do people get a foot into your company? What is your approach to apprenticeships and mentoring?
We run a couple of our own entry-level schemes – one for BAME candidates and another for people without the fi nancial leg-up that you need to work in London.
All placements have a strict, self-imposed time limit.
Our rule is if they’re good enough for us to ask them to stay, they’re good enough to be paid a proper rate.
How workable is formal training in the modern TV environment – and what do you offer?
In 2016, we put three series producers on Creative Skillset’s series producer course and we plan to use it again.
Our DoP Mark Stokes looks after the training of all our self-shooters, and we have a new course to enhance the social media skills of two of our most digital-friendly assistant producers.
What one thing could make True North a more attractive place to work?
We want to make our Leeds and Manchester bases more joined up. We already have pizza Friday across both sites, a company-wide cycling team, and flexible working, where production demands allow.
What is the best way to celebrate staff members’ success?
When we’ve had a success, we analyse it and build on it and make sure that everyone knows that part of our creative approach is down to a particular person or team.