As we enter our 15th year in business we’re always striving forward but wanted to take a moment to look back at where it all started and share some memories.
Let’s take you back. The year is 2005. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has been released at the cinema, the Bird Flu pandemic was spreading and it was the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla. But much closer to home, two twenty-something Manchester TV types are about to embark on a whole new adventure of their own.
Helen Tonge and Ian Bradshaw decide to take the plunge and set up their own independent television company – a brave move to try and succeed without the safety net of Granada TV but the climate felt right, the decision was made and just like that Title Role Productions was born!
Bringing (camera) bags of experience from working together at Granada Studios, Producer Helen and experienced cameraman Ian, had the perfect mix of skills, ambition and a great contacts book to get things rolling.
Helen and Ian worked hand in hand in the early days focusing on crime programmes which were their bread and butter to start with as this was where their experience had been.
“Before we founded the business we had already done quite a lot of work with police forces across the country, and it so happened that just as we set up our own company the Crime Channel was launched, so it was an obvious area for us to target.” Helen explains.
But they knew they needed to diversify as they realised that their success in making crime programmes was restricting their growth in other areas.
In particular they wanted to focus more on factual entertainment, and in recent years have made a very diverse range of programmes with a more obvious ‘consumer’ feel such as documentaries on the history of British Airways, on life on a childrens’ A&E ward, and even on the attraction of all-inclusive holidays in Spain.
Fifteen years on, the significance of that decision to create their own TV company has not been lost. Title Role now have new branding, produced a wide range of series and one off documentaries which have been successful not only in the UK but all around the world and are currently celebrating one of the busiest years to date.
Here Ian reflects on the journey so far:
– How have you seen the company change over the years?
The company has changed drastically over the years due to constant expansion and change of quantity of production per year. The latest change is the new purpose built office which we have just settled into housing our very own complete post production facility.
– What have been the highlights?
There are so many highlights but if I had to name a few, our first Royal Television Award win, breaking into network programming and also the places we have travelled while being in production.
– Did you ever think when you started 15 years ago that you’d be where you are now?
Tough question, Yes as we have always had the drive to succeed but we do pinch ourselves when we stop and reflect on the history of the business.
– What is the secret to your success in this fast changing industry?
Being dynamic, always think outside the box and never be complacent, quality is key also, you are only as good as your last job.
– Things you’re most proud of?
Bringing work into the North West for 15 years.
The new office in the refurbished ABC building feels like perfect timing for celebrating and showcasing the success of the last fifteen years.
It’s a great space to be and a lovely location right around the corner from Granada TV – where the whole journey started for Helen and Ian. We’ve just had a fantastic mural drawn on the wall which illustrates some of the memories over the last fifteen years.
Here’s 15 facts for 15 years in business!
- We have had 7 offices over the 15 years.
- Invested in in-house post facilities including x3 offline and 1x online and audio suite.
- Invested in 1 x audio suite complete with own dub theatre.
- Won multiple national and international awards including 3x RTS and Australian Academy Awards. Sell programmes into over 150 territories
- Won 1 x MPA Business Award for International trade
- MD Helen has swam the channel & Alcatraz 3 times! https://www.titlerole.co.uk/escape-from-alcatraz-helen-tonge-style/
- Commissions by BBC3 / ITV1 / ITV4 / Channel 5 / Crime + Investigation / The History Channel / Foxtel Australia / TCB Media Rights
- Made hundreds of hours of TV!
- Employed hundreds of people and welcomed them into the Title Role family.
- International trade deals running into the millions creating revenue for the UK.
- Generated millions of pounds in revenue for the North West of England.
- Have given lots of time to help develop skills in the North West alongside local Universities.
- Development team completing countless trips to London to meet with commissioners on the Pendolino train from Manchester to Euston.
- Filmed in amazing locations across the globe capturing everything from extraordinary families to extreme weather.
- Made tens of thousands of cups of tea to get us through the ups and downs of this ever changing industry because if you can’t make tea you can’t make telly!