|Divisions||Wise Owl Films|
Lime Pictures, formerly known as Mersey Television, is a British television production company, founded by producer and writer Phil Redmond in the early 1980s. They produce drama and entertainment shows, for the international market including Hollyoaks, The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore and Free Rein.
Mersey Television's first major production was the soap opera Brookside for Channel 4, which ran from the channel's foundation in 1982 until 2003, when it was taken off air due to declining ratings. A 3-part spin-off ('soap bubble') of Brookside was produced in November 1987 called Damon and Debbie.
In 1995, the company began producing a second soap opera for Channel 4, Hollyoaks, which still runs.
Both Brookside and Hollyoaks were created by Redmond himself, and in 2003 the company took over production of another series he had created, the children's drama Grange Hill, which had first been broadcast on BBC1 in 1978 and had been made in-house by the BBC until Mersey Television took over. The company moved production of the series to their Liverpool base, with the fictional school no longer being established as in London but instead an unspecified UK location.
In 1991 Mersey Television under the name of North West Television made an audacious bid during the ITV network franchise auction to win the Channel 3 licence in the North West England from holders Granada Television. Granada had held the North West franchise ever since the inception of independent television in the 1950s, and Granada was one of the biggest and the most established of the ITV companies. Granada was also a popular production company and it came second only to the BBC to find the most respected British television company amongst the British public.
The bid was supported financially by Yorkshire Television and Tyne Tees Television and the bid had aimed to provide a more balanced television service for the North West, in particular featuring more content from Liverpool as opposed to Manchester. However, although North West Television bid more money for the franchise totalling £35 million as opposed to Granada's £9 million, the licence stayed with Granada as the Independent Television Commission declared that the Mersey Television bid did not meet the required quality threshold.
Furthermore, Granada were aware of Mersey Television's attempts to gain the North West franchise and built defences to avoid the loss of the licence they had owned for decades. New franchises which had no experience of owning an ITV franchise (Mersey Television was one such example) would have to a pass a "quality hurdle" that Granada executives actually helped the ITC adopt. Granada also had a well known catalogue of productions including Prime Suspect, Cracker, World in Action and Coronation Street and if Mersey Television had gained the franchise, then Granada would have sold these to satellite television. It did not happen.
Mersey Television was bought by All3Media in June 2005 and, in a contractual requirement, renamed Lime Pictures in 2006. Since then the company has produced the following series:
|2018||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Children's Program||Free Rein||Nominated|
|2018||Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series||Free Rein||Won|
|2022||BAFTA TV Awards||Short Form Programme||Hollyoaks IRL||Nominated|
|2022||Broadcast Awards||Best Digital Support for a Programme||Hollyoaks||Won|
|2022||British Soap Awards||Best British Soap||Hollyoaks||Nominated|
|2022||Royal Television Society Awards (North West)||Best Digital Creativity||Hollyoaks IRL||Won|