Published on November 9th, 2013 | by Jonnie Turpie


TSB funding, Digbeth and the Midlands drama


In October, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced a number of funds aimed at the creative industries in the digital environment  based on their recently published strategy. This includes £1.5m to fund feasibility studies as well as collaborative R&D projects that address convergence in digital technologies, covering film and television, online video, animation and video games.  The full list of TSB funding competitions for the creative industries can be found here.

These funds indicate a positive way forward with the TSB following the publication of its strategy for creative industries.  The funds were presented and debated recently in Birmingham’s creative cluster at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, the historic home of the city of a thousand trades.

Digbeth and the surrounding areas are also featured on the high production value TV series Peaky Blinders written by Birmingham’s Steven Knight, writer of the Oscar-nominated Dirty Pretty Things. Screened over 6 weeks, Peaky Blinders has captured the little-known gangland world of 1920’s Birmingham, with starring roles for Hollywood’s Sam Neill and Cillian Murphy, with Helen McCrory and the intriguing and effective casting of Birmingham poet Benjamin Zephaniah.  It is full of East Birmingham atmosphere, as Peaky Blinders directors have chosen a cool contemporary soundtrack featuring amongst others, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Pesky Blinders has shown that Midlands drama is alive and well, and watched by BBC audiences across the land.  The second series has since been commissioned.

And… now you can take the Peaky Blinders Tour!   Local entrepreneurial organisers and guides will meet you and begin the tour in Digbeth, as this excerpt from a Birmingham Mail article explains:

“Tour guide Rosie Pocklington promises to offer an insight into the Victorian and Edwardian underworld of Digbeth, which retains many historic buildings such as Curzon Street Station, Gun Barrel Proof House, Typhoo Tea Factory, Digbeth Police Station, Custard Factory and Old Crown Inn.”

But be quick as the waiting list is growing by the day.











Jonnie Turpie is a Principal Fellow at WMG with a focus on digital innovation and the Creative Industries. Over the past 20 years. Jonnie has been a Director of Maverick Television, which he founded and has grown into one of the UK's leading regional and national independent production companies.

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