NORTH-EAST filmmakers have captured the stories of businesses battling through the pandemic in a new documentary series. 

Alex Wardle and girlfriend Naomi Watson hope the series, which shows how businesses responded to and overcame challenges, will make people feel more optimistic about the future.

The couple, who run video production company Artifact Media, lost most of their work in the wake of Covid but used their newly-free time to create the five-part documentary series.

REC The Lockdown showcases businesses across Tyne and Wear, County Durham, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire who have been resilient and adapted to the pandemic's challenges. 

It features 13 businesses from across the region.

Mr Wardle, 28, said: "As well as generally documenting how the crisis unfolded and affected businesses in the region, primarily we wanted to capture and share positive, uplifting stories to help viewers feel a little more optimistic about the future, despite the uncertainty and anxiety that was and continues to be so prevalent.

"We want to help shine a light on the people behind the businesses that are facing huge challenges, but are working diligently to adapt and continue serving their customers."

A 20-minute episode will be released each week for five weeks, with each focusing on a different theme.

Episode 1, Bricks and Mortar, which looks at physical businesses who were forced to close and how they adapted or made the most of the downtime, was released on October 24.

This was followed by Episode 2, Embracing Online, which details the digital journey businesses embarked on and was released on Halloween.

Episode 3, U-Turn Businesses, detailing those who have undergone big change as a result of the lockdown, is scheduled for release on November 7. 

Mr Wardle, who says he did not plan the topics but rather there were "obvious" themes when reviewing footage, hopes to inspire others facing the pandemic's challenges by sharing positive stories.

The Northern Echo: Alex Wardle owner of Artifact MediaAlex Wardle owner of Artifact Media

He said: "Everyone is in the same boat. I knew there was positive stories out there that would help uplift people. There is so much innovation, creativity and adaptability and that's what we wanted to capture."

Starting in Chester-le-Street, where Mr Wardle is from, after a passing comment from a friend, it quickly became apparent there were stories to be told across the region. 

Mr Wardle added: "From creating PPE to vents to moving your businesses online, there is so much adaptation. There is inspiration to be drawn from this in the face of uncertainty and anxiety."

A full list of businesses interviewed:

  • Moobears Chester-le-Street | Children’s Soft Play Area
  • Sore Paws Newton Aycliffe | Veterinary Clinic
  • Graham Soult | Retail Expert (filmed in Chester-Le-Street)
  • Rachel Spencer | PR Expert (filmed in Gosforth)
  • Dominic Hodgson | Pet Business Coach (filmed in Sunderland)
  • Cake Stories Bakery and Cafe | Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • SwishForIt | Wishlist App (filmed in Catterick)
  • Simon Hartley | Founder of Be World Class (filmed in North Yorkshire)
  • Chris Cook | Coach and Public Speaker, Former Olympian (filmed in Darlington)
  • Andrew Bartlett | Founder of ROAM Local and Save The High Street (filmed in Chester-Le-Street)
  • Tam Wilson | Founder of Born 2 Run Pet Care (filmed near Burnopfield)
  • Amy Fettis | Founder of Studio 54 Jesmond
  • Angelina Bell | ScaleUp North East Partner (filmed in Darlington but Angelina works closely with RTC North who are based in Sunderland)

For more information, click here.