5 years

Wise Owl Films reached the five year landmark this week.

It was Bonfire Night 2018 when Mark Robinson, Kerry Allison and Stuart Ramsay launched an exciting new adventure - Wise Owl Films in Leeds - joined soon after by Charlotte Topliss and Nathalie Mayer.

Since then Wise Owl (and its youth label Hoot) have made 24 series and specials, employed hundreds of people, launched many careers, won awards and worked with an array of talent (on and off screen) – from David Jason to Peter Kay, Amanda Owen to Guy Garvey, West Yorkshire firefighters and Tyne & Wear Metro staff to Blondie.

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Wise Owl Films picked up two wins at the RTS Yorkshire Awards held in Leeds on Friday October 20th.

BBC Two’s When Tina Turner Came To Britain came out on top in the Factual Entertainment category.

The judges said: “The programme combined great insight with powerful storytelling. With access to a great set of contributors plus excellent use of archive footage, this programme was ‘Simply the Best’.


The story of Blondie’s enduring relationship with Britain is to be explored in a new BBC Two documentary made by Leeds-based Wise Owl Films.

When Blondie Came To Britain traces the connection between Britain and one of the most iconic bands in music history – from their first gig in Bournemouth in 1977 through to their electrifying performance on the Pyramid Stage at this year’s Glastonbury.

Featuring new interviews with band members past and present - Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Gary Lachman AKA Valentine, Jimmy Destri, Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison the 60 minute documentary is made by the company behind previous films in BBC Two’s When ‘X’ Came To Britain brand.



 Wise Owl Films has been shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards. 

The Hacienda: The Club That Shook Britain has been shortlisted in the Best Music Documentary category in the Grierson Awards. The post production work done by Leeds-based Sticks and Glass has been nominated in the RTS Yorkshire Post Production excellency category.

The BBC TWO documentary was filmed, produced and directed by Matt Drury, with Jess Illingworth as editor, Gurbir Dhillon as story producer and Michelle Turner as archive producer.

Meanwhile, Wise Owl has also received three nominations in the 2023 RTS Yorkshire Awards.

  • Wise Owl Films – Production Company of the Year.
  • Amanda Owen’s Farming LivesFeatures category – this More4 series was produced by James Knight, series directed by Tom Kent, and series edit produced by Rachel Porter.
  • When Tina Turner Came To BritainFactual Entertainment – this BBC TWO Christmas Day documentary was produced and directed by Dhivya Kate Chetty, edited by James Alcock, archive produced by Michelle Turner, with Gurbir Dhillon as Story Producer.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on these projects. We would like to thank the many, many staff and freelancers who made them possible, as well as our commissioning editors Dawn Payne, Michael Gray, Diana Hare at the BBC and Jayne Stanger at More4.



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Wise Owl Films has been commissioned to make two music documentaries to air in prime slots on BBC Two over Christmas and New Year - When Tina Turner Came To Britain and When Motown Came To Britain.


On Christmas Day When Tina Turner Came To Britain features previously unheard interviews with the iconic singer as the programme reveals the full extent of the superstar’s relationship with the UK. 

Tina Turner says: “The love, energy and support I’ve had from Britain over the years has been amazing. I couldn’t have enjoyed the career I’ve had without my time spent in the UK and collaborations with amazing British songwriters, musicians and producers.

“I hope you love watching this documentary. From my very first visit to London in 1966 I always enjoyed visiting Britain and performing for fans across the country – it felt like my second home”.

Produced and directed by Dhivya Kate Chetty, the film features contributions from many of those who have met and worked with Tina over the years, plus some famous fans - including Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware of the Sheffield synth-pop duo Heaven 17, who helped re-launch Tina’s career in the 80s; singer, and former Ike-ette, P.P. Arnold; Skin from Skunk Anansie; Arlene Phillips, who choreographed the music video to Private Dancer; Tina: The Musical producer Tali Pelman and Executive Producer of The Tube, Malcolm Gerrie. 

This is the story of the key role Britain played in Tina’s extraordinary career and in turn, the huge influence Tina had on generations of UK musicians and fans.


When Motown Came To Britain will air on New Year’s Day, and tells the story of the very first UK tour undertaken by musicians on the label, including Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles.

The documentary, produced and directed by Kate Siney, tells the story of how Motown’s brightest new stars arrived in the UK in 1965 for a pioneering tour which saw them perform in locations such as Liverpool, Leicester, Bristol, Newcastle and Glasgow.

Featuring footage shot by Georgie Fame guitarist Colin Green, who joined the Motown stars on the tour, the film sees once teenage Motown fans make an emotional return to where they experienced a night of musical magic all those years ago, hearing from a range of artists and Motown fans including The Miracles’ Claudette Robinson; The Temptations’ Otis Williams; Ready Steady Go! Producer Vicki Wickham; BBC Radio Leicester’s Herdle White; The Supremes and The Temptations manager Shelly Berger; Georgie Fame & The Blueflames guitarist Colin Green and former Motown Records UK General Manager Keith Harris.

Wise Owl Films’ Creative Director Mark Robinson said: “We brought the stories of Bob Marley and Nirvana’s time in Britain to BBC Two, as well as the recent celebration of the Hacienda, and now turn our attention to two more musical icons from the world stage.

“Both Motown and Tina Turner changed the sound of popular music as we know it – and each film looks at the key role Britain played in helping them conquer the planet”.