TallTree Pictures pledges to create jobs in the North East

PRODUCTION firm TallTree Pictures has pledged to create more than 100 jobs in the North East after securing $2m (£1.57m) for a crime thriller.

Stephen Tompkinson

PRODUCTION firm TallTree Pictures has pledged to create more than 100 jobs in the North East after securing $2m (£1.57m) for a crime thriller.

Shooting will begin on Harrigan in Newcastle later this month. It will star Stephen Tompkinson as a hardened police sergeant returning to his Tyneside patch after a spell in Hong Kong.

TallTree is being supported by venture capital firm Rivers Capital Partners through its £7.5m North East Angel Fund, and also boasts major investors including Newcastle businessman Paul Rogers and former Newcastle United footballer Robbie Elliott.

Harrigan was penned by Arthur McKenzie, a writer for stage, radio, television and books who also served as a detective inspector in Newcastle’s West End for 31 years.

Kirsty Bell, TallTree’s commercial director, said: “It has taken more than two years to put the funding in place after TallTree took the decision to make a film out of Harrigan in early 2009.

“We have support from around a dozen investors including entrepreneurs from the North East region and investment funds.

“It’s been a difficult journey due to the economic climate, but I believe we have demonstrated to our investors that there are potentially lucrative returns for all parties in our business model and we are delighted that we are now is a position to commence filming.”

London and Newcastle-based TallTree has promised to “only use the best acting and production talent based in or from the North East”.

Cast members include Gillian Kearney, who starred in Shameless, Brookside and Casualty, Craig Conway of Wire in the Blood and Hogfather, Amy Manson of Torchwood and Outcasts, and Ronnie Fox of Great Expectations, Clubbed, Tribe and The Sweeney.

Tompkinson said: “Harrigan sees the place he cares about has gone to rack and ruin and he needs to clean it up. He believes in a physical presence on the streets and he sets about taking on the bullies.

“Harrigan is a complex character and it will be a fantastic role to play. The script which was given to me by the director Vince Woods is brilliant.

“You start with a really good script with great writing and that transports the story for everyone. The whole team involved in the project are extremely passionate about it and I am thrilled to be part of that.”

Rivers Capital Partners director Jonathan Gold said the movie is a good investment opportunity for the VC firm.

He said: “As well as being very creative, the team at TallTree are very backable, with a wealth of experience from running other projects.”

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