• BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Birmingham tomorrow evening, Thursday 30th June.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from Birmingham which sees General Secretary of the National Union of Teacher Christine Blower; Labour MP for Southampton Itchen John Denham; Secretary of State for Transport and Conservative MP for Runnymede and Weybridge Philip Hammond; former Director-General of the CBI Sir Richard Lambert and journalist and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences 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

  • Mentorn Media's owners, Tinopolis, the UK's sixth largest independent TV production company, has acquired US production company A. Smith & Co.

    The deal brings together Tinopolis' portfolio of global television production companies with A. Smith & Co's global ratings hits including The Swan and Trading Spaces as well as Gordon Ramsay vehicles Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares.

    Tinopolis, backed by private equity firm Vitruvian Partners and with a turn-over of £75m, owns Question Time producer Mentorn Media and sports production company Sunset+Vine.  The company produces around 1,600 hours of drama, factual, and sports programming each year for more than 200 broadcasters worldwide.  The acquisition is part of its diversification and growth strategy and increases its access to the US sports and entertainment markets.

    Smith & Co. will become Tinopolis' leading North American television production entity, able to tap into the company's worldwide resources and enjoy enhanced access to the UK for its non-scripted productions. A. Smith & Co will continue to maintain its independence as a production company, operating out of its Los Angeles headquarters. Mr Smith joins the main board of Tinopolis and will continue to lead A. Smith & Co. alongside his partner and Company President, Kent Weed.

    Tinopolis Executive Chairman Ron Jones said: "Arthur, Kent and all of A. Smith & Co. are great additions to our company.  Their experience of launching global brands and television programming and their vision of what programmes need to be will ensure that programme buyers and audiences will be well served for years to come.  Tinopolis has a strong reputation for producing quality programmes across a range of genres and this new strategic relationship will support all our businesses as we continue to grow.

    "Moving further into a US market hungry for UK formats in partnership with an established and successful entity like A. Smith & Co - with ideas and formats that have international potential - will further enhance opportunities for our distribution company, MINT, and is a massive strategic gain for the group."

    "We have a strong reputation for producing quality programmes across a range of genres. In sport we supply the BBC's coverage of the horse racing classics such as the Derby and all sports coverage for BBC Scotland and Channel 5. From our drama expertise in Daybreak and Fiction Factory to our expertise in live programming, particularly for S4C, and Mentorn and Pioneer's record on factual programmes, we are a strong creative team.  Mentorn has worked successfully with A. Smith & Co over recent years and is already successful in the US with Discovery, Nat Geo and Fox. The fit is obvious."

    Arthur Smith, CEO of A. Smith & Co commented:  "We have been fortunate to have been approached by a number of entities offering strategic partnerships, but none until now presented the benefits and synergies that we have found in our new partners at Tinopolis and Vitruvian Partners.  This new relationship allows us to expand aggressively while ensuring that we will have even more resources to continue to produce the high quality and successful content.  We have a phenomenal team in place, and now look to expand on our already existing relationship with Mentorn as well as harness our experience in sports programming via Tinopolis' respected sports production unit Sunset + Vine."

    The acquisition will further the Tinopolis Group's strategy of transforming the company into a genuinely international business with a strong US presence. The purchase will also give Tinopolis an international base from which to launch its intellectual property, with a focus on programme and format rights in an area in which A. Smith & Co excels.

    Ron Jones added: "Structural changes in the market mean that traditional broadcasting now has to share its access to viewers with on-demand and non-broadcaster funded services.  Many of these trends are US-originated and today's acquisition ensures that Tinopolis is well placed to commercialise them."

    Ends

     

    For more information please contact Patrick Barrow at Pagefield on:  07795035363 or Oliver Foster at Pagefield on: 0207 440 0984

  • Tonight sees the UK premier of multi-award winning Mentorn Media documentary For Neda.

    The film will be shown in the True Stories slot at 10pm on Tuesday 21st June on More 4.

    On June 20th 2009 the young Iranian woman Neda Agha Soltan was shot in the heart protesting the failed Iranian elections.

    To mark the occasion, as well as the two year anniversary of Neda's death, there was a screening held at London's Royal Society of Arts. Chief Executive of Mentorn Media, John Willis, interviewed the film's director Antony Thomas and Saeed Kamali Dehghan, the Iranian journalist who went under cover and put his own life at risk to gain access to Neda's family.

    Antony Thomas's documentary tells for the first time Neda's personal story and attempts to find out who this young woman was, how she become such a powerful symbol to millions and what she was fighting for. In making the film multi-award winning director, Antony Thomas, travelled from California to the Turkish/Iranian border and within Europe to find people who knew Neda personally or were close to the events of June and July 2009.

    The documentary became the most successful viral programme of all time. Because of its importance, and prior to its US broadcast, HBO gave permission for its pre-release in Iran via the Voice of America's Persian News Network where it was shown multiple times, and on various websites in English, Arabic, and Farsi.

    The film has received accolades of the highest degree, including winning the Foreign Press Association's Best TV Feature/Documentary Award and most recently being announced amongst 2011's Peabody Awards winners list. Antony Thomas and Saeed Kamali Dehegan were also honoured by the FPA when presented with the Journalist of the Year award.

    Note to Editors

    For Neda was originally broadcast on 14th June, repeated on the anniversary of Neda's death. In the UK BAFTA held a screening, Amnesty International, Frontline Club all held scfreenings while it received its European premier at the Sunny Side Documentary Festival on June 22nd 2010.

    True Stories broadcasts at 10pm on Tuesday nights on More4.

    For further information please contact Sally Kent at Plank PR sally@plankpr.com 020 8995 3936

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Aberdeen tomorrow evening, Thursday 16th June.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the Granite City of Aberdeen which sees Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Minister for Public Health Diane Abbott; Conservative Peer and ex Secretary of State for Scotland Lord Michael Forsyth; Scottish Businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter; Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk Michael Moore and the Leader of Scottish National Party and First minister of Scotland Alex Salmond, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences 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

  • Mentorn Media has promoted Executive Producer, Hannah Wyatt, to Head of Factual Entertainment and Features.

    The promotion comes as the third series of Mentorn's hugely popular, Underage and Pregnant series prepares to air on BBC THREE. Hannah was recently Executive Producer for BBC Vision of the hugely successful Junior Doctors series for BBC THREE.

    Hannah takes up the position immediately and will continue working across developing format ideas across all broadcasters as well as becoming part of the Mentorn Senior Management Team.

    Mentorn Media Chief Executive, John Willis, said: "Hannah is incredibly talented Executive Producer and we're delighted to announce her promotion. She is an integral part of the team and hugely respected both within Mentorn and within the industry. This is a chance for her to grow a major area of production for Mentorn."

    Hannah Wyatt said: "Having worked with Mentorn Media for the past five years, I know how creative and hard-working the team is here. I'm really looking forward to taking up this new position and building Mentorn's reputation for Factual Entertainment and Features programmes further."

    Hannah was responsible for the commission of all three series of Underage and Pregnant and has been Executive Producer across them all. She joined Mentorn Media in 2006 and although she became freelance in September 2009 has continued working with closely with Mentorn.

    While at Mentorn she has been responsible for Hairspray: School Musical, Grease: School Musical for Sky1; The Real Full Monty for Sky1; Tulisa: My Mum and Me, I Can't Stop Stealing - both for BBC THREE; the forthcoming David Suchet on Sid Fields for BBC Four; Diet on the Dance Floor for Living; The Bill Made Me Famous for ITV1 and Jean Christophe Novelli's US launch for Bravo - Le Chef.

    Before joining Mentorn in June 2006 Hannah was an Executive Producer at Prospect Pictures for two years and before that worked developing formats for both Prospect Pictures and Twofour.

    Junior Doctors has been nominated for a Broadcast Digital Award.

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

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Norwich tomorrow evening, Thursday 9th June.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the Norfolk city of Norwich which sees Labour MP for Norwich South Charles Clarke; feminist writer, academic and journalist Germaine Greer; author and journalist Peter Hitchens; Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire Jo Swinson, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences 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

  • BBC One's political debate programme, Question Time, is being hosted from Wrexham tomorrow evening, Thursday 2nd June.

    David Dimbleby chairs the programme from the Welsh town of Wrexham which sees Conservative MP for Charnwood Stephen Dorrell; journalist and broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer; Labour MP for Kingston Upon Hull West and Hessle Alan Johnson; author and journalist Sir Simon Jenkins and Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader and MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd Elfyn Llwyd, face questions from the audience.

    To apply for a seat in future audiences 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