Mentorn Media has promoted Nicolai Gentchev to Director of Current Affairs, it was announced today (WEDS).

    Gentchev, who has been at Mentorn Scotland for five-and-a-half years as editor of Question Time, becomes Executive Producer of the political debate show as part of his new role which includes developing and executive producing a range of current affairs programmes. 

    During his time as editor of Question Time, Nicolai has also edited BBC Scotland’s ‘Referendum Debates’ series in 2014 and has been executive producer on various one-off programmes, including the ‘Big, Big Debate’ at the Hydro, which was nominated for a BAFTA and won the RTS Scotland Award for Best Referendum Programme.

    Jonathan Hewes, Chief Executive, Mentorn Media, said: "We are delighted to announce Nicolai's promotion to the position of Director of Current Affairs after his extremely successful editorship of Question Time; he has a wealth of political, news and current affairs experience and as he moves to Executive Producer role, we are looking for a new Editor of Question Time." 

    Gentchev replaces Hayley Valentine who has left Mentorn Media after three years to pursue other opportunities. 

    He continued: “Hayley has been an incredible Director of Current Affairs, overseeing some of the standout current affairs programming of the last few years, and securing a series of fast turnaround specials with the BBC at a time of unprecedented political uncertainty. We wish her the very best in her future.” 

    Before joining Mentorn Media as Editor of Question Time, Gentchev was Editor of ‘Good Morning Scotland’, BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship news programme, in the build up to the 2010 General Election.  Previous to that, he has been an output editor on Radio 4’s Today programme, and before that worked for several years as a business reporter and producer for the BBC and Bloomberg News.

    Nicolai said: “The Question Time team is a force to be reckoned with. I've been enormously proud to work with them for nearly six years and particularly over some of the most defining moments of recent years. I'm delighted that I will still be working with Question Time in my new role and continuing the incredible work that Hayley has produced.” 

    Hayley Valentine said: “It’s been an extraordinary climate to produce some very special editions of Question Time. As well as the outstanding three years of Question Time, I’m proud to have overseen so many other important political programmes – from Free Speech, to the Dimbleby Interviews, from the Hydro to The Big Questions. It’s been a fantastic experience and it feels the right time to hand over the reins.”

    Mentorn Scotland has produced Question Time since 2012, and is currently looking for a new Editor to be based in Glasgow. To apply, please email Jill Greenwood at Mentorn Scotland: JGreenwood@mentorn.tv. Closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 16th September.

    For more information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com


    Dara Ó Briain today announced Apollo has been crowned the champions of Robot Wars 2016.

    More commonly known as ‘the boy band of Robot Wars’ on the show; the Apollo team, Dave, Marc and Ben who are friends from North Wales, were presented the prestigious trophy by Dara Ó Briain and Angela Scanlon.

    The competition has been gruelling, with Apollo competing in nine battles before going up against Carbide in the Grand Final. In the end, the final decision was down to the judges: Professor Noel Sharkey, Dr Lucy Rogers and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, who came to the unanimous decision that team Apollo were the worthy winners of Robot Wars 2016.

    Dave said: “We can't believe our luck winning Robot Wars. For three guys from a non-engineering background to win a show like this is crazy. Nine years ago when we all met as Bluecoats we would never think this would happen. We had a few issues with Apollo during the competition in the early stages. But it still held its own. We made a few enemies with house robots along the way. But when it mattered the robot worked perfectly. We hope everyone loved the show, as a group of entertainers we want to make sure people had as much fun watching the show, as we did competing in it. Hopefully there will be another series where we hope to defend the title!”

    Forty robot teams tested their luck in the purpose built arena in Glasgow across the series, not only facing each other but also the dangerous hazards of Fire, Spikes, The Flipper and The iconic Pit. As well as this, the robot teams had to avoid the iconic House Robots. Aiming to terminate anything that strays into their zone of the arena - Sir Killalot, Matilda, Shunt and Dead Metal were out to get any robot brave enough to venture into their sector.

    Many robots were tossed out of the arena, cooked on the flames and smashed to pieces, but Apollo survived it all, whilst still being described by presenter Dara Ó Briain as ‘the great entertainers of this series’.

    The thrilling final saw the six finalists Carbide, Shockwave, TR2, Apollo, Pulsar and Thor compete in two group battles, each with three robots in, determining one loser from each fight who were then eliminated. The four surviving robots then faced off in the head to heads, competing in a series of one-on-one fights in order to score enough points to make it into the Grand Final.

    Apollo went into the final full of determination as they faced Carbide who had beaten them in a previous head-to-head earlier in the Final.

    Ben Bacon from Apollo said: “It’s more than just the Grand Final, this is our revenge match.”

    Notorious for being the flipper that humiliated the house robots, Apollo made full use of the house robots and arena hazards in aiding their win. Despite struggling to close the front flipper towards the end of the fight, Apollo thought on their feet and used Carbide’s shunts to shut the flipper again before striking again.

    Apollo was described as ‘worthy winners’ – they took on three out of four House Robots as well as nearly all of the competition they faced and despite the damage from their opponents they were able to pull through to become champion.

    The DVD, Blu-ray and digital downloads from Robot Wars will be released on Monday 29th August. For all Robot Wars fans the chance to own the series you love and watch again, whenever you choose, the amazing robots and the destruction caused on route to finding the latest Robot Wars champion.

    For further information, pictures or interviews with Apollo please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com 




    BBC Four has commissioned Peter York’s The Hipster Handbook, a one-off documentary from Mentorn Media in association with Moore Television, it was announced today (Friday 26th Aug).

    Presented by cultural commentator Peter York, this authored documentary looks at the rise of the hipster and how this phenomenon has changed the world around us. Through his exploration of the hipster movement, Peter reveals a society desperate for the authentic and big businesses that are appropriating ‘authenticity’ in order to sell it back to us.

    York will delve into the complexity of the authentic versus the inauthentic, and how hipsters battle with the mainstream to reclaim the values and trends they have created.

    Peter York said: “The hipster style is taking over the world. Where does it come from and where does it end? We explore who these people are with their moisturised beards, check shirts and craft beers.”

    Tayte Simpson, Director of Programmes and Executive Producer, Mentorn Media said: “Peter York’s The Hipster Handbook takes an authentic look at how the complex battle we face as consumers of what is truly authentic in the society that we live in. Peter provides a wonderful insight investigating this bearded cultural tribe and helps uncover how the evolution of the hipster has actually affected all of our lives.”

    Peter York’s The Hipster Handbook has been commissioned by Mark Bell for BBC Four and will be executive produced by Tayte Simpson, Director of Programmes, for Mentorn Media, Geoff Moore for Moore Television and Emma Cahusac for the BBC.

    For more information please contact Annabel Rudden at annabel@plankpr.com or 07763420892



    BBC One’s political debate programme, Question Time, is returning for a new series beginning with a Labour Leadership Hustings Special, it was announced today (MON).

    The live programme from Oldham will see David Dimbleby chair the debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith, on Thursday, September 8th at 9pm on BBC One.

    David Dimbleby said: “It’s good news that the two contenders for the Labour leadership have agreed to appear in front of a Question Time audience. As we saw in the EU referendum debates, and the general election debates, there’s nothing like a Question Time audience for discovering and testing different political views.”

    The programme is produced for BBC One by Mentorn Scotland with Nicolai Gentchev as Editor.

    It will be available on BBC iPlayer after transmission. Follow the debate on Twitter and Facebook via #bbcqt @bbcQuestionTime

    For further information please contact Louise Plank on 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com


    Robot Wars is back! From July 24th at 8pm on BBC Two, Dara O Briain and Angela Scanlon host the brand new series of Robot Wars with commentary from the legendary Jonathan Pearce who returns from the original series with his inimitable take on the robot battles.

    Filmed in a huge, purpose-built fighting arena in Glasgow, 40 teams of amateur robot fighting enthusiasts battle it out over six episodes to become Robot Wars Champion 2016.

    Each episode has eight robots with the following competing in the first episode: The General, Terrorhurtz, Razer, Nuts, Kill-E-Crank-E, Carbide, Bonk, Behemoth.

    The action starts with two group battles with four robots in each battle. The top two robots from each group battle go through to head to head battles where all four robots fight each other once. The top two then compete in the episode final – the winner going through to the Grand Final.

    If the robots don’t knock each other out then the judges are on hand to decide the winners. Dr Lucy Rogers, Professor Noel Sharkey and Professor Sethu Vijayakumar base their criteria on aggression, damage and control – so everyone has to attack from the start.

    The Arena contains the dangerous hazards of Fire, Spikes, The Flipper and The iconic Pit.

    As well as battling it out against each other, the robot teams must avoid the iconic and intimidating House Robots. Aiming to terminate anything that strays into their Corner Patrol Zone - Sir Killalot, Matilda, Shunt and Dead Metal show no mercy as they menacingly patrol the arena ready to destroy.

    Welcome to the return of Robot Wars.


    Follow @ukrobotwars on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest and check out the official website www.robotwars.tv for exclusive merchandise and official news.


    Robot wars is produced by Mentorn Scotland and SJP Media

    Distributed by Passion




    Channel 5 has commissioned Mentorn Scotland to produce the hugely popular series, Traffic Cops, for Channel 5.

    Mentorn Scotland  produce the series and will continue to follow the West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire forces as they police the roads, motorways and cities across Yorkshire.

    Long running series Traffic Cops has regularly pulled in huge audiences with its unique blend of drama, extraordinary action, humour and engaging story telling. The camera crews work seamlessly with the police in patrol cars using mini cameras to capture every angle of the action as it unfolds, witnessing every nuance of the encounters between the enforcers of the law and those who are trying to break the law.  As well as finding a new home, the all new Channel 5 Traffic Cops will have even more exciting and innovative ways of capturing the on-road action.  And the programme’s presenter Jamie Theakston will also stay with the series in its new home with an expanded on-screen role. 

    Mentorn Scotland’s Creative Director, Iain Scollay said: “We are enormously proud of Traffic Cops and the access we maintain. It was one of the first police observational TV series and we’re delighted that Channel 5 will be its new home.”

    Commissioned by Channel 5’s Guy Davies, the series is due for transmission later this year.

    Guy Davies said: “Traffic Cops has a huge following as one of the most successful police access shows on TV and it’s a real thrill to bring the brand to Channel 5.”

    The previous series of Traffic Cops have been broadcast on BBC One.



    A new documentary from Channel 4 tells the extraordinary story of Saddam Hussein’s farcical venture into the movie business, revealing for the first time on UK screens, a film that has been lost in a garage in Surrey for the last 35 years.

    This tale involves notorious hell-raiser Oliver Reed, a lavish film set, debauchery, black humour, and a terrified cast and crew trying desperately to get a film in the can as the Iraq-Iran war raged around them.

    The epic film, which had a multimillion pound budget on a par with Return of the Jedi, was bankrolled by Saddam as he was determined to tell the birth story of modern Iraq. However, when filming began, so too did the Iran-Iraq War.

    Described by his cast mates as ‘a weapon of mass destruction,’ Oliver Reed wreaked havoc off set, drinking the bars of Baghdad dry, horrifying the locals and risking the entire production as Saddam’s henchmen demanded he be thrown off set.

    Against all the odds, the movie was finished but disappeared without a trace, along with Saddam’s regime.

    With the discovery of the tapes, the cast and crew now assemble for the first time since their Middle Eastern adventure, to piece together with the help from never before seen rushes, behind-the-scenes footage and set photos, the unbelievable story behind one of the most bizarre movies ever made.

    The documentary has been made for Channel 4 by Mentorn Media. The director is Stephen Finnigan.


    Rob Coldstream, Commissioner:

    “I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story quite like this.  It’s amazing the film ever got made, with a drunken leading man and a real life war zone to say nothing of the pressure of keeping Saddam Hussein happy.  It’s like Lost in La Mancha meets Carry on Baghdad.”

    Iain Scollay, Creative Director, Mentorn Scotland and Executive Producer: 

    "While Saddam waged war on Iran, Ollie Reed was involved in his own campaign terrorising the bartenders of Baghdad. You could not make it up.  But this is not just a romp about making a lavish feature film in a country at war; it’s also an insight into Britain’s involvement in the Middle East and the rise and fall of Saddam.”

    Producer, Nick London:

    “I saw the material when Lateif, the producer of ‘Clash,' led me to the lock-up garage, where he keeps his archive.  Amid the cobwebs, there’s an Aladdin’s cave of film reels, cuttings and publicity photos, even an old Steenbeck, belonging to someone who has spent 50 years in the film business.  I couldn't believe it when I saw the piles of rusting film cans with Saddam's lost movie in them. The story of Oliver Reed and Saddam, both tyrants in their different ways, coming together to make this epic, is absolutely extraordinary.”


    Mentorn Media for Channel 4

    Produced and Directed by Stephen Finnigan

    Executive Producer, Iain Scollay

    Producer, Nick London


    Mentorn Scotland will produce two special editions of Question Time for BBC One in the run up to the EU Referendum, putting leading advocates of the case to remain and the case to leave the European Union directly in front of a live audience.

    In the first of the two programmes, the Justice Secretary Michael Gove will answer questions on the case to leave the EU to a Question Time audience in Nottingham. This programme will broadcast on Wednesday 15 June.

    Four days later, on Sunday 19 June, the Prime Minister David Cameron will take questions on the arguments to retain EU membership. This programme is live from Milton Keynes.

    Question Time will be moderated by David Dimbleby, and both programmes will be screened in the early evening to reach as wide an audience as possible.

    The BBC is also announcing today the make-up of the panel for its first peak time debate – ‘How Should I Vote? The EU Debate’ which takes place in Glasgow this Thursday evening, also produced by Mentorn Scotland.

    Presented by Victoria Derbyshire, this programme is aimed at younger voters, and the audience comprises 18 to 29 year-olds. The audience members will be able to ask panellists questions, and challenge them on the issues that are of particular interest to them ahead of the EU Referendum.

    Representing the Remain camp will be Alex Salmond, Scottish National Party MP for Gordon and former First Minister of Scotland, and Alan Johnson, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, and former Home Secretary.

    On the Leave side of the argument will be Liam Fox, Conservative MP for North Somerset and former Secretary of State for Defence, and Diane James, UKIP MEP for South East England and their spokesperson on Justice and Home Affairs.

    Follow all these debates on twitter using #BBCDebate

    Notes to Editors

    ‘How Should I Vote? The EU Debate’ is on BBC One at 8pm on Thursday 26 May.
    Question Time EU Referendum Special with Michael Gove is on BBC One at 6.45pm on Wednesday 15 June.
    Question Time EU Referendum Special with David Cameron is on BBC One at 6.45pm on Sunday 19 June.
    These programmes are being produced for the BBC by Mentorn Scotland.


    Mentorn Media has been nominated for their hit digital short; Things You’ve Always Wanted to Ask a Trans Person….But Probably Shouldn’t, in the Broadcast Digital Awards.

    The short film explores what it is like to be transgender in Britain today with members of the community selecting questions they are frequently faced with.  From post operation curiosity to questions about sexual activity and which bathroom they use, the contributors answered every question with searing honesty.  

    The video was a huge hit when BBC Three released it on YouTube and Facebook where it has received more than 4.5 million views.

    It has been nominated in the Best Non-Scripted Online Short category in the Broadcast Digital Awards which take place on 29th June.


    For further information please contact Louise Plank 020 8995 3936 or lou@plankpr.com



    Mentorn Media has been named as one of Realscreen’s top production companies working in non-fiction and unscripted content, in their Global 100 list, it has been announced.

    Realscreen’s Global 100 celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and celebrates innovation, business acumen and great content within the non-fiction and unscripted industry.

    Mentorn Media has been recognised for programmes such as Angry, White and Proud, and The Great British Benefits Hotel. Angry, White and Proud was the powerful and shocking documentary, directed by Jamie Roberts which delved into the world of the far-right in the UK, and aired on Channel 4 in January 2015; and The Great British Benefits Hotel, a documentary showing the realities of life on welfare aired on Channel 5 in August 2015.

    For further information please contact Effie Dufu on 020 8995 3945 or effie@plankpr.com

    RScreen _G100_2016