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Regional diversity in the new age of television: factual programme maker Anna Dickeson says: “It’s so important to have variety”

The Garden Yorkshire showreel

By Grace Pritchard

The Creative Lead of the television production company responsible for 24 Hours in A&E says setting up a base in Leeds allows them to reflect the voices of the whole country and not just those in London.

Anna Dickeson said: “There was a real appetite to move 24 Hours in A&E out of London so we could see the rest of the country.”

The Garden production company has produced many award-winning factual television programmes.

Anna Dickeson, producer of 24 Hours in A&E spoke today at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism & Media Week.

She said: “We’re very much known for what’s called institutional access.

“It’s being able to get cameras into places you don’t normally see.

“When we created the first series of 24 Hours in A&E, no one had filmed in an A&E department in that way with completely privileged access, where you see absolutely everything that happens.”

Channel 4’s ‘4 All of the UK’ policy was to increase the amount spent on productions in the nations and regions to 52%.

Anna Dickeson, when speaking to Yorkshire Voice said: “People want to see themselves reflected on television.”

The Garden is known for its success with fixed rig documentaries such as 24 Hours in A&E and 24 hours in Police Custody.

While 24 hours in A&E was filmed in Kings College Hospital in London, the company is keen to make the shift towards setting up and producing big projects in the north.

Anna Dickeson speaking with Glyn Middleton at LTU Journalism and Media Week

Anna said: “The Garden is filling a gap in the market.

“There aren’t other companies making the same shows as us, so we’re not necessarily stepping on people’s toes.

“Instead we want to make a different genre of programmes up here.”

The big takeaway from Anna’s talk is that the culture of focusing just on London is a thing of the past.

The Garden Yorkshire believes that to not investigate every area of the country would only limit their ability to tell good stories.

Anna added: “If we as an audience feel like all we’re watching is London-centric programming then ultimately people will just switch off.

“From a business perspective, it makes more sense for us to relocate our big shows as it will guarantee longevity.

“Ultimately, we want people to watch our shows.”

When asked why regional representation is so important to The Garden, Anna said: “It’s just the right thing to do.”


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