As we dust off our black-tie suits and glam frocks in preparation for the Royal Television Society North-East and Borders Awards tomorrow evening, we’re pausing to reflect on our first 12 months at Natterbox HQ, in Gateshead, Newcastle. We’ve collaborated with some exceptional new talents, and some of the most sought-after creatives in the region whilst producing two series of “Charlotte in Sunderland”. This returning reality series garnered 2.5 million views predominantly from 16-30s, tripling the BBC audience in the Northeast. We also discovered some of the best curry spots in town, Khai Khai and My Delhi.  

We’re excited for the fabulous Amanda Wetherall, who’s been nominated for the Unsung Hero Award. Her TV journey is an inspiring one – she made the bold decision to leave her 35-year career in teaching to follow her dreams of working in the Film and TV industry – securing her first role, as a Production Assistant on a scripted comedy drama.  

 At Chatterbox, Amanda joined as a Production Secretary on a two-week contract. She made a great first impression with her can-do attitude, positivity and commitment to the teams – even gaining the unofficial title of ‘Mum of the team’! This led her to stay with us for 18 months, working across Meet The Khans, Extraordinary Portraits and Charlotte in Sunderland. Within the same year, she became a Junior Production Coordinator. As we know, production are the backbone of our shows – getting shoots done on time and budget and overseeing all the essential paperwork and releases. So, it’s great to be able to acknowledge that at events such as this.  

David Metcalf, Series Director of Charlotte in Sunderland says “Amanda has cemented herself as an indispensable member of the Charlotte in Sunderland team. She’s a fount of Northeast local knowledge which has been invaluable on numerous occasions. Above all, her camaraderie and spirit make her an absolute joy to work with.”  

Ali Quirk, Creative Director of Chatterbox adds Amanda transferred into the industry at a later stage in her career and has brought a whole range of skills and experience to the role. Her professionalism and willingness to learn means that she quickly progressed to Production Coordinator and we look forward to watching her continued growth and success in production management.” 

Our second entry for the night is in the Best Factual Entertainment Show category, for Charlotte in Sunderland. We wish all the nominees the very best of luck. And it’s a great moment to thank our team from Series Director David Metcalf and Head of Production Rosie Taylor to Production Manager Aysha Ali, Production Secretary Hannah Grencis, DOPs Matt Jones and Simon Glass, Producer Bex Wallace researcher Sam Angell, Series Editor Dan Bowen. Also, all our supporters along the way – from BBC3, Northeast Screen, and Jen Hartley at Newcastle Council.  

Over the course of 2023, Charlotte let us into her world for two seasons of Charlotte in Sunderland, where alongside her we experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. From the euphoria of falling in love, to the earth-shattering revelation of a cancer diagnosis, the magic of childbirth, the profound sorrow of losing a loved one, and a marriage proposal live on screen, our series captured it all.  We are very proud of this title and grateful for the privileged access to Charlotte’s world – she remains a proud ‘Mackem,’ showcasing her roots from the very first beef dip shared with the production team on day 1 of filming the series, to revealing a new side of Sunderland to her 8.8 million followers.  

We look forward to raising a glass at the star-studded event in Gateshead tomorrow night, and good luck to our fellow Northeast production companies who’ve delivered award-worthy programmes in a year that has been challenging for us all.  

Wish us luck and hopefully we’ll back with some shiny new silver wear to hang in Natterbox HQ!