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BBC contract is Paradise for firm
PICTURE WINDOW: A window on the set of The Paradise BBC drama, filmed at Lambton Castle, near Chester-le- Street
WHILE it is no surprise to many of the millions of fans of costume drama The Paradise that the BBC production is set and filmed in the North-East, the majority will not be aware that the show has also been supporting local businesses.
The show’s producers commissioned glazing business Ask 4 Glass, which employs only seven people, to supply every window, screen, glass counter and table top on the set at Lambton Castle, near Chester-le-Street.
The company, run by Bishop Auckland-born Chris Auld and his business partner Tony Bain, 44, even created the large stained glass green and blue peacock picture window, emblazoned with the fictional department store’s name.
Although the exact value of the contract, which is the 36-monthold firm’s biggest to date, is undisclosed, it will go some way to helping it achieve an expected 24 per cent jump in turnover at the end of its financial year.
“It actually came about a bit by chance,” said Mr Auld, 43. “Tony was leaving the industrial estate where we are based and noticed there was what looked like a new joinery firm in one of the units.
“We get a lot of business through joiners, so he popped in to introduce himself and it turned out that it was the joinery department for the BBC, who were working on The Paradise set.
“We had a word with the contract manager and put together some quotes for the work.
“We were successful with our initial bid, and this led to us getting the work in stages.
“They were going to bring someone up from London to do it, but because we were more competitive, we won the work.
“We are only a very small company and we have managed to get a contract with the BBC – we are over the moon.”
Although formed only two-anda- half years ago, the firm, based in Washington, Wearside, already has some large contracts, including replacing glass screens used in the paint spraying process at Japanese car firm Nissan’s Sunderland plant, and a contract with Northumbria Police, which sees them replace any smashed glass in doors and windows after houses have been raided.
Mr Auld added: “I think we have been successful because of our customer service. We will always do a job if needed within 48 hours of the call.”
Mr Auld, who has been a glazier all his working life, has another celebrity claim to fame.
“I helped to build a glass staircase for Andrew Lloyd Webber,”
he said. “The firm I used to work for did a lot with an architect who was friends with him, and we got a contract for the staircase.
“It was built in the North-East then fitted to his house. I didn’t get to meet him, though.”
Mr Auld said that the firm, which has recently bought another van, bringing its fleet to four, is hoping to take on more staff next year.
“If it all goes well, we would be looking to take on three or four more next year. Maybe we will get a bigger factory to hold more glass in the longer term, as well as more vehicles.
“We are definitely going to stay in the North-East, though.”