• Mentorn International has confirmed two significant pre-sales for Mentorn Media's documentary series "Katie: My Beautiful Friends" ahead of its Channel 4 debut, it was announced today (THURS).

    TV 3 New Zealand and TV4 in Sweden have both purchased the series with interest from several major territories including USA, France, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Denmark.

    Managing Director, Mentorn International, David Leach said: "Katie is a remarkable young woman and after the sales around the world of the first programme, we're thrilled at the early sales we've had for this series. As with the first programme, Katie tackles everything with a sense of humour which is an inspiration to us all as well as the friends that she meets. It's unmissable television."

    Katie: My Beautiful Friends starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday, 22nd March at 9pm.

    Katie: My Beautiful Face followed Katie Piper, the victim of a vicious acid attack, who waived her anonymity and shared her story for the first time.  It achieved the highest ratings of 2009 for Channel 4's Cutting Edge strand with 3.5 million viewers watching and recently won a Broadcast Award for Best Documentary Programme.

    The response was so remarkable that Channel 4 commissioned Mentorn Media to produce the Alternative Christmas Message with Katie and prompted Katie to set up the Katie Piper Foundation to help other burns victims.

    The first programme has sold around the World to 15 countries, including TV2 Norway, M6 France, XYZ Australia, TV3 New Zealand, Globosat Brazil, TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, Nelonen Finland, RTL 2 Germany, ABC USA, VTM Belgium, RTL Holland, Discovery Europe, Discovery Italy, Fuji TV Japan.

     

    Visit Mentorn International at MIPTV 2011 - stand 11.29

     

    Notes to Editors:

    Mentorn International is a long-established international distributor of programme content and formats for TV companies including Mentorn Media, BBC World, Pioneer Productions, Daybreak Pictures, Quicksilver, Fiction Factory, Folio, Ludus and Mentorn USA. Mentorn International distributes formats and programmes in the reality, entertainment, factual entertainment, documentary, drama, science, history, lifestyle, human interest and popular factual genres.

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

     

  • On the evening the Coalition Government's second Budget is announced by Chancellor George Osborne, Richard Bacon returns to BBC Three at 7pm to chair a live edition of Young Voters' Question Time.

    Colonel Bob Stewart MP (Conservative), Jo Swinson MP (Lib Dem) Ken Livingstone (Labour), George Galloway (Anti-War Coalition) and Brian Sewell are on the panel to answer questions from young people reacting to The Budget.  The programme offers 150 16-25 year olds the opportunity to question Government and Opposition MPs about the Chancellor's new austerity measures.

    Following on from November's programme in reaction to the tuition fees Young Voters' Question Time will be staged in Central London, and continues BBC Three's commitment bringing political coverage to the 16 to 34-year-old audience.

    Cuts in public spending, imminent increases in tuition fees, rising unemployment and housing shortages are all expected on the agenda.

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

  • A new four-part documentary series following Katie Piper's progress after a horrific acid attack destroyed her face two years ago starts tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.

    Millions were moved by the 2009 Cutting Edge film, Katie: My Beautiful Face, which showed her extraordinary determination to overcome the physical and emotional damage wrought by the attack. Since the film was broadcast, Katie has received an incredible response from people offering their support, including many also living with disfigurement.

    The series follows her over a year as, inspired on to a new phase of recovery, Katie sets up a charity to help others living with disfigurement.  Meanwhile, she continues the grueling treatment still necessary two years after the attack and, despite setbacks, puts together the building blocks of her new life.

    She also wants to offer a support network to other people facing similar issues and is meeting people with a whole range of disfigurements, hoping to build a network of mentors to spur others on as she was a year ago.

    "There are a lot of people that need a support network," says Katie.  "Sometimes you can draw strength from other people - nobody can be strong all the time.  It would be nice just to text somebody and tell them how you're feeling and ask them how they are."

    Katie finds people walking a variety of paths, some similar to her own, some very different, but all having to deal with a world that turns away from disfigurement.  With candid humour, they ask each other the difficult questions no-one else can about how to get the best out of life when others can't get past how they look.

    In the first programme of the series, Katie meets two young women who have experienced very different forms of disfigurement, one through a life-threatening condition, the other through a terrible accident.

    Five years ago Adele, a ballet student, suffered an epileptic fit in the shower, knocking the tap as she fell, and was left with burns across nearly half her upper body.  She was found by her mum, Denise.

    Rushed into a specialist burns unit in Chelmsford she received emergency and reconstructive treatment in the intensive care unit.  Now nineteen, Adele decided that the physical perfection demanded by the ballet world meant her dreams of dancing for a living were over.

    "I feel a lot of the time I should be at the bottom of the heap," says Adele.  "I seriously hope the scars don't make a difference, but a lot of the time I think they do."

    And as Katie gets to know Adele, she sees the young performer gain in confidence, winning a part in a play going to Edinburgh.

    23-year-old Chantelle was born with a rare condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which means that a group of blood vessels are growing out of control deep in her nose, leaving her disfigured and threatening her life.

    Chantelle's treatment is making her look worse before plastic surgery can eventually make her look better and the situation is putting a strain on her marriage to Brett, an RAF fireman.

    "Since we've found about how aggressive the AVM was I've not been able to do anything physically that will get my blood pumping."

    She feels trapped in their home, but hopes that the treatment will allow her to start living life again.

    "With everything that's going on with all the operations I don't have a life at all, I don't do anything, I don't leave the house," says Chantelle.  "It's like a cocoon and then when everything is done I'm going to come out like a butterfly and have loads of new clothes, new shoes, new things, just a new life.  Get rid of the old me and start with a new me.  I want to experience things and travel the world."

    Chantelle has been bullied for looking different all her life.  She had a facial birthmark that spread across the centre of her face and it wasn't until she was fourteen that doctors diagnosed her condition as a potentially life threatening.

    "High School was an absolute nightmare," says Chantelle.  "I think I'd rather die than go back.  I'd stand in the corridor waiting for class and everyone would be walking past and saying things like 'Rudolf' and 'Big Nose'.  I had people threatening me, groups of girls circling and saying things.  I just kept my head down."

    Chantelle tells Katie about how she was recently insulted and punched in the face by a girl who was drunk.  The girl was arrested, but it has knocked back Chantelle's confidence even further.

    Radical new surgery to save her face, but she could lose her whole nose as a result.

    Meanwhile Katie is in Istanbul for the most significant surgery since her face was grafted two years ago.  Mr Jawad, the plastic surgeon who treated her when she was first admitted to Chelsea and Westminster burns unit has brought Katie to see Professor Erol for fat injections under her skin.  They hope to replace the fat that was burned away by the acid which will not only improve the contours of her skin but might mean she will be able to properly close her eyes for the first time since the attack.

    Back in England, as the launch of her charity looms, Katie is frantically sorting out last-minute arrangements.  And she receives bad news about the man who organized the attack on her: he is appealing against the life sentence he received."

    Series Dir: Clare Richards

    Series Prod: Sara Woodford

    Prod: Tanya Freedman

    Dirs: Sarah Hardy, Ashok Prasad

    Exec Prods: Dan Goldsack, Tamara Abood

    Prod Co: Mentorn Media

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

  • British Veterinary Association, RSPCA and Met Police tell More4's How To Buy A Puppy documentary that there are more dangerous dogs now, then when the Act was put in place.

    Twenty years after the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act banned Pit bull terriers, Britain's top vet has told More4 the problem is worse than ever.

    Harvey Locke, President of the British Veterinary Association, says in How To Buy A Puppy, to be broadcast on Sunday night: "There are more Pit bulls around now than there ever were at the time the Act came into place.  It has been described as knee jerk legislation and it has not been effective.  The problem has actually got worse and is getting worse quite rapidly now."

    The documentary produced by Mentorn Media for More4, How To Buy A Puppy, explores best practise in dog breeding and will be broadcast after the final of dfs Crufts, on Sunday 13 March at 9pm. It reveals how London, like other parts of the country, has seen a dramatic rise in the number of banned breeds being used for intimidation and status.

    The number of dogs seized has risen tenfold in the last five years and the Metropolitan Police are so concerned, they set up the Status Dog Unit to deal with this worrying trend.

    The Status Dog Unit is headed by Sergeant Ian McPartland, who says: "A dog now is like your mobile phone, or your trainers. The bigger better dog you have then the higher status you're going to have because people will be envious of one of your possessions.  "What we're starting to see in some areas of London is more organised dog fighting.  We've got mobile phone footage of people waggling gang bandanas between dogs saying round three and letting the dogs go again.  The really strange thing is that most of them really love their dogs.

    They're part of their family; they hold them in high regard.  For a lot of them they are their only real companion with whom they can rely on."

    The programme features exclusive footage of pit-bulls that have been trained specifically to attack women and children. The dogs have been seized before they have caused any injuries to anyone. Inside a steel cage, one pit bull flings itself at the female producer with such intensity that it snaps a tooth on the metal bars.

    Professor Sheila Crispin, who Chairs the newly-created Advisory Council on the Welfare of Dogs, claims that guide dogs are now being targeted. "A dangerous dog is something that is dangerously out of control but causes damage usually to humans or occasionally of course other animals when it is out of control."

    The documentary features CCTV footage of an attack by a pit bull on a guide dog. Police say three guide dogs a month are being attacked by dangerous dogs.

    Professor Crispin says: "There is an issue here in that for example guide dogs are now one of the groups of dogs that are regularly attacked by dangerous dogs which is particularly distressing. "The people who own these dogs have a very misplaced sense of status.  They use them for protection, to guard drug stashes, to actually attack other things. It's part of the fun that they get from having a nasty vicious dog." David Bowles of the RSPCA, tells the programme: "This is a very difficult problem to face. It's been going on now for as long as the RSPCA has which is nearly 200 years and it's still an enormous problem.  We've had legislation on dog fighting now since 1835 and we still have it there. That shows how difficult it is to try and get rid of."

    The RSPCA say that 40% of puppies bought in the UK could come from puppy farms, and that they are often too damaged to cope with life in a normal home. "The dogs are basically kept in pens," says David Bowles.  "The conditions seem to be fairly dirty.  If a vet is not going into these places, because of the close proximity of these dogs you can get disease happening very, very quickly and spreading very,very quickly.  "When you're looking at an animal which has been caged, and sometimes you can see this when you go into a zoo, if an animal is being caged and it's not having it's welfare needs met, you would start to see stereotypic behaviour - which is walking around in a circle or head tossing."

    Professor Crispin says it is up to buyers to help stamp out the puppy farms. "Basically of course, what will put a stop to puppies being irresponsibly bred is having the responsible purchaser say: 'No we are not going to buy this dog. I mean that is so obvious that it's often missed, but that's the way to do it." Lord Redesdale's Dog Control Bill is moving towards its Report Stage in the House of Lords.

    Professor Sheila Crispin also plays an active part in the Dangerous Dogs Act Study Group (DDASG), along with the Kennel Club and leading Animal Welfare and veterinary organisations including the BVA. The DDASG have helped form the proposed Dog Control Bill which follows the principal of deed not breed. Sheila said: "A dangerous dog is something that is dangerously out of control but causes damage usually to humans or occasionally of course other animals when it is out of control."  The Dog Control Bill looks at the other end of the lead, believing the problem is not with breeds of dog but with particular owners.

    Note to editors:

    How To Buy A Puppy is on More4 at 9pm on Sunday 13 March.

    dfs Crufts is on More4 from 10 - 13 March, 7 - 9pm

    About How To Buy A Puppy

    This hour-long documentary, produced by Mentorn Media, is a practical guide to dog health for owners and prospective owners of pedigree dogs, examining best practice in the world of pedigree breeding.

    Year......................Number of Dogs seized

    2000 - 2001......................65

    2001 - 2002......................44

    2002 - 2003......................41

    2003 - 2004......................51

    2004 - 2005......................27

    2005 - 2006......................40

    2006 - 2007......................263

    2007 - 2008......................450

    2008 - 2009......................719

    2009 - 2010……………...1152

    Source: Metropolitan Police

     

  • Discussing the impact of the violence seen at the Rangers and Celtic match Nicola Sturgeon called for the teams to lead by example while Annabel Goldie was 'deeply disturbed' by the increase in domestic violence and finds it 'unacceptable'. 

    Nicola Sturgeon said: "Rangers and Celtic are not responsible for all of Scotland's social problems and I don't think that anyone is suggesting that. But they do occupy positions of power and influence in Scottish society and they have a responsibility to lead by example. I think what has perhaps gone wrong in recent weeks is that they have hopefully temporarily forgotten that and that's a shame because both clubs have done great work in recent years to bridge the divide.  I know the work that Rangers and Celtic have done and I think it's important we get back to that.

    "This view, that is frankly held by a minority, that violence and particularly violence against women is somehow an acceptable reaction to a team loosing a football match - it's not."

    She continued: "Rangers and Celtic are great football clubs. They should be a source of pride to Glasgow and Scotland and we've got to get back quickly to a situation where that could be the case."

    Annabel Goldie said: "I have been very disturbed to learn, because Strathclyde police confirmed this, that in the wake of these old firm matches, that domestic abuse surges. I found that a very disturbing scenario. I also happen to see in the news report after the match some of the scenes from the match and I have to say that   I was very, very deeply concerned because my anxiety was that if you see management and players engaging in behaviour, and I describe that behaviour as thuggish then I said that without a shadow of a doubt minority elements of their supporters will go away and also behave like thugs and I frankly think that is unacceptable."

    Douglas Alexander called the domestic violence 'obsence'.

    Question Time is on BBC One tonight at 10.35pm and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

  • On tonight's Question Time from Edinburgh, Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP defended Prince Andrew when asked if he had become more of a liability than an asset.

    Moore said:  "I think what we have to recognise is the fantastic job that Prince Andrew has done for this country over a very long period of time. As an unpaid volunteer trade representative, he has for the best part of a decade made sure that British companies across the world get access to markets and do deals with other companies that they would not have otherwise have done.

    He continued: "He doesn't need to do this job, he didn't get asked to do it he's unpaid in doing it, I actually think he's still doing a fantastic job for the country as a whole."  

    Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

  • Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Edinburgh on Thursday 10th March.

    David Dimbleby will be joined by the Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP, the shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander MP and the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Annabel Goldie MSP.

    The panel will also include Patrick Harvie MSP of the Scottish Green Party, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP and broadcaster Nick Ferrari.

    Question Time will be on BBC One at 2235 GMT on Thursday 10 March and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.


  • Question Time has a new senior team, with the Radio 4 Today programme's Nicolai Gentchev taking over as editor and 5 Live's former Head of News Hayley Valentine appointed as Executive Editor for the BBC.

    BBC Director of News Helen Boaden said: "Question Time has an outstanding new team to lead it. Nicolai and Hayley have a great depth of experience in the political institutions across the UK. They will ensure that one of the BBC's most important programmes goes from strength to strength."

    Nicolai, who became a senior producer on Today in 2008, is presently on secondment as editor of Good Morning Scotland. He previously worked at Bloomberg News for six years, where he started as a producer, going on to be a radio reporter, then presenter and editor.

    "Question Time is a great programme. I am honoured and delighted at the prospect of joining the team," Nicolai said.

    He joined the BBC in 2006 and became an output editor on Today where he helped produce coverage from party conferences; he produced a special series from Russia with Bridget Kendall looking at how the country had changed under Putin; and in November 2009 travelled with reporter Andrew Hosken to Pakistan to produce a series of reports during the South Waziristan offensive.

    A graduate of Glasgow University, he came to Pacific Quay last year to lead Good Morning Scotland through the General Election. He is expected to take up his new post in May.

    Hayley is the former Head of News at 5 Live, leading the network's coverage of the last General Election, the Cumbria shootings and the World Cup in South Africa. Before that she edited a wide variety of news programmes on the network, most recently the Victoria Derbyshire programme. While in London she also did a stint as Assistant Editor on Breakfast TV.

    Hayley previously worked at both BBC Scotland and Scottish Television, as well as commercial radio in Edinburgh. She started her journalism career in newspapers in Dundee after studying English literature at Edinburgh University.

    BBC Scotland's Head of News Atholl Duncan said the appointment of Nicolai and Hayley is good news for Question Time. "Hayley and Nicolai will add to the existing wealth of political and programme experience in the Question Time team and I'm delighted that we have appointed them."

    Steve Anderson, the Executive Producer of Question Time for Mentorn Media, said: "I am confident that Question Time will be in good hands with Nicolai and Hayley. Nicolai succeeds Ed Havard who has taken the programme to new heights, generating news stories, boosting ratings and overseeing spin-off series on BBC Three."

    Question Time moves to Glasgow in late summer as part of the BBC's strategy of building sustainable production bases throughout the UK.

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

  • Commenting on Question Time on the resignation of Sir Howard Davies, as Director of the LSE over links with Libya, Professor David Starkey said: "Not before time." He added: "The charges against LSE are huge and are disgraceful."

    "LSE frankly sold degrees. There is no doubt about this whatever.

    "I was there for 35 years. I was part of the process that set this up. It was response to the policy of the last government and the government before that.

    "Because universities are starved of funds, they go out of their way to attract foreign students and they invent non-degrees, masters degrees that have got almost no meaning so they get very large fees from it. So there was systemic corruption."

  • David Dimbleby is joined in Derby tonight by Iain Duncan Smith MP, Margaret Beckett MP, Lord Malloch Brown, David Starkey and Liam Halligan.

    The programme broadcasts at 10.35pm on BBC One or is available on BBC iplayer.

    To apply for a seat in a future Question Time audience you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime or call the audience line on 01299 829 299.

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