A new North-East television and media company is to be launched today with a mission to become a major player in the industry and raise the profile of the region.
Liberty Bell is the brainchild of Andrea Wonfor, the high-flying TV executive who initiated The Tube and Byker Grove, and Paul Campbell, a media entrepreneur who was once the youngest BBC producer in the country.
Yesterday Mr Campbell said from the company offices on Grey Street, Newcastle: "The aim is for Liberty Bell to become a very high powered company. We started chatting and we noticed that the North-East seemed to be the only region in the country that didn't have a big, general, independent production company.
"With a political imperative on broadcasters to commission more and more programmes outside London, it seemed to make sense to us to start a new company."
Mr Campbell, 43, said the pair were also keen to establish a major presence in their home region.
Mrs Wonfor left her former job as creative director at Granada Content in August but has lived in the North-East for 34 years and worked previously as director of programmes for Tyne Tees and as an independent producer.
Mr Campbell, who was born in North Shields and went to Newcastle Royal Grammar School, relocated to the North-East six weeks ago, settling in the Tyne Valley with his wife and two young daughters.
The boss of two other companies, Bell Media and Bell Learning, Mr Campbell said Liberty Bell would make conventional and interactive programmes for UK broadcasters, predominantly for network terrestrial and the cable/satellite markets.
It would sell its products in the growing world market, focusing on entertainment, factual programmes, drama and material aimed at children and young people.
Mr Campbell left the North-East 25 years ago to go to Oxford University and had really never come back, although his first work experience was as a student with BBC Radio Newcastle.
He thought it was dreadful that in this day and age broadcast professionals should not be able to build a career in their home region.
He said the North-East was a source of high quality programmes, such as Robson Green's dramas and Byker Grove, but there weren't really enough of them being made here.
Similarly, there were plenty of excellent media professionals but without enough interesting material.
"I've got the zeal of an ex-pat," he said. "When I went away, it just never occurred to me that I'd come back to live here. What I have brought back with me, apart from 25 years' experience, is a passionate desire to help the region."
Liberty Bell has already won commissions, including a pilot for a children's television show, Grubbs, for the digital Discovery Channel.