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Channel 4 buys into Scottish indie

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Nicole KleemanThe UK’s Channel 4 has continued its investment in local indies by taking a piece of Glasgow-based producer Firecrest Films.

The move represents the latest use of the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund, which has helped the broadcaster buy into companies such as Barcroft Media Group, Eleven Film, Lightbox Media and The RightsXchange (TRX).

Channel 4 now has a minority stake in Firecrest, which Nicole Kleeman set up in 2008 to produce programming for the likes of the BBC and ITN. It has also produced several locally high profile investigative docs for Channel 4 News.

“Nicole’s track record in delivering critically acclaimed content that has led the national news agenda demonstrates the creative talent we have across our nations and regions,” said Channel 4 CEO David Abraham.

“Investing in an impressive Scottish producer such as Nicole builds on Channel 4’s on-going commitment to develop a UK-wide creative industry with a focus on growing businesses outside of London to ensure TV better reflects the stories and lives of people right across the UK.”

Kleeman – a former, BBC factual and current affairs producer – said it was “time to take the company to the next level”.

“This is an exciting time for Scotland’s booming indie sector and with Channel 4’s investment I’m looking forward to hiring a new creative team to increase our output and in turn scale a significant factual TV business in Glasgow, which will hopefully bring more opportunities to a new generation of Scottish production talent,” she added.

Since creating the Indie Growth Fund three years ago, Channel 4 has invested in twelve UK indies. It most recently bought into Red Sky Productions, with former All3Media chiefs David Liddiment and Steve Morrison and Wall to Wall founder Alex Graham doing the same.

Channel 4 rival BBC has also been heavily investing in the British indie sector, taking stakes in companies such as 72 Films, Greenbird Media, Lookout Point, Might Productions and Original Talent in recent years. ITV Studios owns UK prodcos such as Shiver and The Garden, while Sky has stakes in Love Productions, TRX and Znak&Jones.