03 May 2023
Leading Nations factual producer Tern, part of Zinc Media Group, has announced two returning series for BBC Network and BBC Scotland - Martin Compston’s Northern Fling and Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle. The commissions, which continue Tern’s raft of network and nations co-commissions, further exemplify the company’s expertise in bringing stories from the UK Nations to a Network audience.
In Martin Compston’s Northern Fling (6 x 30 min), the Line of Duty actor, along with his best friend Phil MacHugh, embarks on an epic Northern adventure - searching for all that it means to be from the 'North' starting in Shetland, before travelling the length of Norway to lift the lid on what we can learn from the most Northern of our Scandinavian neighbours. This commission is the sequel to the successful Martin Compston’s Scottish Fling, which followed the duo across Scotland.
Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle (4 x 60 min) has been commissioned for its second series, following the huge popularity of the launch series last year. In this series, Ben Fogle will once again explore the extraordinary connection between stunning landscapes and spiritual belief across several beautiful islands. Complemented with spectacular drone footage, he will celebrate each island he visits, meeting the locals and learning how the island’s unique religious history is woven through the community today. As with series one, he will explore what it is about each island that touches his psyche more deeply and what makes each a place of spirituality and sanctuary.
Both series are expected to broadcast later this year. Scotland’s Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle will be shown on BBC Scotland, BBC One and iPlayer and Martin Compston’s Northern Fling will air on BBC Scotland, BBC Two and iPlayer.
David Marshall, Head of Entertainment, Tern, says: “Making series where big-name talent do counterintuitive things is what Tern is known for, and we are pleased to have secured another series with Martin and Ben, both household names who are able to disarm contributors and make audiences feel they are part of their adventures.”
Harry Bell, Managing Director, Tern, adds: “Tern’s strength is in bringing Nations stories to the Network, as well as marrying top talent with their passions - so these commissions sit perfectly in our sweet spot. Not only that, returnable series form the foundation of our business, and allow us to continue to grow and evolve.”
Tern has also been commissioned to make a 46th series of Beechgrove Garden (26 x 30 min) for BBC Scotland and BBC Two. Tern’s longest-running returning series, it is presented by Carole Baxter, George Anderson, Brian Cunningham, Calum Clunie, Kirsty Wilson, Diana Yates and Lizzie Schofield, and once again offers topical tips and hands on gardening advice from the company’s specially designed studio garden.
Tern has created a wide range of talent-led programming including: Dr Xand’s Con or Cure (BBC One), Heavenly Gardens with Alexander Armstrong (BBC One); A Very Country Christmas with Ellie Harrison and Angellica Bell (BBC One); and Britain's Lost Masterpieces with Dr Bendor Grosvenor and Emma Dabiri (BBC Four).
Steve Allen, Commissioning Editor, BBC Scotland says: “Viewers loved these series, though they each brought something very different to the table. Martin and Phil’s irrepressible sense of fun, based on their solid friendship, delighted viewers as they travelled across Scotland. While Ben’s serenity as he took a spiritual island tour, with the backdrop of fantastic scenery, engaged people in a different way, but again was very much taken to viewers’ hearts. We are delighted that these wonderful wanderers are returning to BBC Scotland and BBC network for new series.”