Sally Joynson to Leave Screen Yorkshire

Sally Joynson to Leave Screen Yorkshire

Champion of Yorkshire-made productions to retire after 20 years

Screen Yorkshire has today announced that Sally Joynson will be retiring from the business after 16 years as Chief Executive. The Leeds-based executive, who has been with the organisation for twenty years, is expected to leave Screen Yorkshire in early 2022, once a successor has been found and after a period of handover. The search for a new CEO for Screen Yorkshire will start immediately.

Joynson began her career with Screen Yorkshire as Head of Industry Development, the organisation’s second employee when it was first set up in 2002. She became Chief Executive in 2006 and is widely credited with relaunching and rebuilding the company as a standalone enterprise, following the closure of the regional screen agencies in 2010. Securing almost £15m in funding to invest in content produced in the region, she launched the Yorkshire Content Fund – the biggest of its kind in the UK – of which the first recipient was Peaky Blinders. Since then, the Fund has invested in over fifty productions – from feature films like Dad’s Army and Official Secrets to critically-acclaimed TV shows like Ackley Bridge and All Creatures Great and Small – securing over 100 awards and nominations for Yorkshire-made content.

In 2018, Joynson received the RTS Yorkshire’s Outstanding Contribution Award and throughout her career she has been a tireless champion of the Yorkshire & Humber screen industries. She has worked with and supported acclaimed independent production companies based in the region, such as True North and Warp Films and as CEO of Screen Yorkshire, she established Yorkshire & Humber as the UK’s fastest growing centre for film in TV between 2009-2015. The work of the organisation delivered unprecedented growth in employment and turnover in the area – more than double the rate of any other in the UK – supporting over 12,000 jobs with a turnover of £1.1bn.

Sally Joynson: Image © Paul Harness Photography

In 2015, Joynson helped found Church Fenton Studios, home to ITV’s global hit Victoria, and established the first BFI-backed out-of-London screen cluster in 2016 – the first award through its Creative Clusters Challenge Fund, designed to accelerate growth in key regions. Recognising the need to champion underrepresented talent and address industry skills shortages, Joynson also introduced a slate of new initiatives through Screen Yorkshire such as Beyond Brontës which has notched up an impressive track record of getting 73% of participants into screen sector work, and partnered with ScreenSkills and the National Film and Television Society (NFTS) to launch the UK’s first Centre of Screen Excellence, which supports training in craft and technical grades.

Joynson also played a key role in bringing Channel 4 to Leeds, as part of the consortium that successfully pitched for the broadcaster to relocate its main HQ outside of London. Last year Screen Yorkshire launched a crewing service in the pandemic to support freelancers, securing over 4,600 days of work since July 2020.

There are no words that can fully do justice to our debt of gratitude to Sally for the extraordinary contribution she has made to Screen Yorkshire. Screen Yorkshire has never been stronger thanks to her passion, advocacy, resilience, and diplomacy which she has employed over the last twenty years to steer the organisation through both the good and the more challenging times. Her legacy impacts not only this organisation but the wider screen industries in Yorkshire & Humber. As we launch the process to find her successor, I and the Screen Yorkshire Board would like to wish her a wonderful retirement.

John Surtees, Chair of Screen Yorkshire

I always said that when I reached a certain age, I was going to take some time out to focus on me, and in the blink of an eye we’re here. It’s been an absolute privilege to lead Screen Yorkshire for so long and I’m immensely proud of what’s been achieved and the role we’ve played in making things happen in this most glorious part of the country. I leave the film and TV industry in Yorkshire in the best shape it’s been for a very long time. But it’s now time for a new era to begin – both for me and for Screen Yorkshire. I’m looking forward to taking some time out, concentrating on spending time with my family and looking at new opportunities in non-executive roles when the time is right.

Sally Joynson, CEO of Screen Yorkshire