A NEW showbiz and PR agency has been launched by the Sunderland born former news editor of the News of the World newspaper.
Neville Thurlbeck has set up Talent GB to host the showreels and booking details of artistes of every genre.
Although launched just 12 days ago, it already has 90 acts on board and is being used by broadcaster James Whale to screen his cult podcast ‘Whale’s Weekly’.
Many will remember James Whale’s hugely popular Night Owls phone in programme in the 1970s, when he emerged as the country’s first ‘shock jock’ on Metro Radio.
Neville, who spent 23 years with the paper before it closed, is handling the PR, together with his sister Andrea, who runs the north-east based Results Network PR with husband Andrew Barker.
He said: “We are the UK’s first one stop talent shop for artistes of every genre to display their showreels and booking details to every agent, venue or potential customer everywhere in the British Isles, The response has been instant and immensely positive.
“The idea came to me on September 2 last year and I woke with it fully formed. Every aspect was there in my head. The concept, the revenue streams, the PR, the advertising possibilities – maximised by splitting the website into regions and the acts into sections such as bands, then subsections such as ‘jazz bands’ and so forth. The idea just came to me from nowhere and I feel I can take no credit for it.”
Neville, a former Bede School pupil, says he is delighted to have James Whale on board.
He said: “I used to listen to him in the 70s and like most of us, was amazed and taken aback by his acerbic style. He’s still talked about in the north east with reverence, even though he left there more than 30 years ago!
“He has asked me on his show several times and he was the only broadcaster I would stop work and jump in a cab for. To have him on my ‘show’ is just great.”
Award-winning reporter Andrea Thurlbeck was both crime reporter and consumer editor on the Sunderland Echo during a 14 year career with North East Press.
Andy Barker began his career on the Sunderland Echo and worked on the Star Series network of free papers and was part of the launch team of the Morning News in Newcastle. Both now run with Results Network PR and Marketing and the online magazine www.randrlife.co.uk
Also joining Neville is the veteran Fleet Street photographer Harry Page, who is offering photographic services. And James Vellacott, who runs Cherryduck Productions, a top end videographic company which does much of its work for News International titles.
It costs £19.99 a year to showcase your act. But the first 1000 slots are free for 12 months.
Neville added: “We are not just a pretty shop window and content to just sit back and let the artistes upload.
“We are fairly aggressive about showing them off on our front page “Featured Artiste” showreel slot and writing about them and reviewing them. And we are using social, print and on-line media to ensure we are seen and heard.
“Breaking the news and communicating with millions of people is something I have been doing for 25 years. And it’s what I will continue to do on behalf of this site. And most importantly, its members.
“In just over a week, 90 superb acts have joined us. Bands, comedians, musicians, mind readers, magicians and agents – and an organist rising through the stage playing the Mighty Wurlitzer – one of my favourites!.
“It’s like being the boss of a terrifically exciting on-line variety theatre. It’s huge fun!”
In July 2012, Thurlbeck was charged with being part of a conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages whilst working at the News of the World. He is set to face trial later this year.
On this subject he said: “Whatever will be will be on the Operation Weeting front. All I know is, everything I did was approved by News International’s lawyers so I don’t really see what more I could have done and there is substantial evidence to support this.
“It’s not my main preoccupation. All my thoughts and energies are focused on Talent GB. I’ve never had so much fun in my career.”
Neville’s most famous scoops on the News of the World exposed Jeffrey Archer’s perjury which sent the peer to jail and revealed David Beckham’s affair. He won many awards, including the British Press Award’s Scoop of the Year trophy twice.
TalentGB is at www.talentgb.com
Here are a few quotes about Talent GB.
TalentGB is gaining a following and it’s great to be part of a brilliant new, highly original venture which will be of such value to the showbiz industry.” – Broadcaster James Whale
“Delighted to be associated with TalentGB, surely a fabulous and much needed resource for all aspects of the British entertainment business” – Comedian Phil Cool
“As a theatrical producer, promoter and agent we are constantly on the lookout for the very best entertainers that the country has to offer – TalentGB has given us a wonderful portal, one which we have been longing for” – Beyond Eternity Promotions Ltd