Banking on the Success of the North East's TV Industry; in Association with RBS the Monday Interview Sandra Jobling's Career Was Transformed When She Was Robson Green's Bank Manager. Graeme King Meets the Co-Founder of One of the Region's Top Television Production Companies

The Journal (Newcastle, England), September 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Banking on the Success of the North East's TV Industry; in Association with RBS the Monday Interview Sandra Jobling's Career Was Transformed When She Was Robson Green's Bank Manager. Graeme King Meets the Co-Founder of One of the Region's Top Television Production Companies


Byline: Graeme King

IT MUST be an unusual existence in television production - close to the world of celebrity and stardom, but always in the background.

Sandra Jobling probably knows this better than most, being the business partner of one of the best known North East faces on television - Robson Green.

The pair have run Coastal Productions from offices on the Newcastle Quayside for some 12 years now and have an enviable track record of producing prime time drama behind them.

Wire in the Blood is about to start its sixth series on ITV1, and Coastal also has a three-part thriller called Place of Execution set to go out at the end of this month.

These are just the latest high profile Coastal projects to go before a national audience - and all begin life in the cosy, top floor offices the company occupies close to the Live Theatre.

Under the eaves of the building, Jobling has a glass walled office looking out on to an apartment-like space with deep, comfortable sofas for the country's top television talent to relax on.

It has been an interesting journey into television for the now 56-year-old Jobling, having begun her career in secretarial work. But the whole story actually begins up in Northumberland.

Jobling was born in Acklington where her father was in the RAF, so they lived on the base there, but it was not long before they were moving on.

The family lived in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in Warwickshire, Aberdeen in north east Scotland and even Libyan capital Tripoli for a period.

She remembers: "We used to be evacuated quite regularly from Tripoli. One time, we went from the heat of Libya to 10 feet of snow in Aberdeen almost overnight. But I have fond and happy memories of being in Tripoli, of the whole experience.

Eventually Jobling returned to the North East though, and she attended what is now Tyne Metropolitan College on the Coast Road in North Tyneside, to do a secretarial course.

She says: "My career has been down different paths. I was a travel agent, I worked in Bainbridges department store, and I worked for Mincoff Science Gold solicitors for a number of years."

Jobling was a clerk and secretary to partner Howard Gold for several years, and recently crossed paths with him again by a strange coincidence.

She says: "Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from our location manager, saying I would never guess where we were filming Wire in the Blood. It was in Howard Gold's house in Gosforth!"

After the law firm, Jobling went to work in banking for Abbey National as was. She had left her previous job to have her daughters, and says she was looking for a part-time role.

She says: "They dithered about employing me. The manager knew me very well, as I had brought them a lot of will work. I asked if I could have a job typing, but he said I would soon want to do something else. Sure enough, after two to three weeks, I asked if I could do mortgages, or be on the counter. I worked my way up from the cash desk to being in financial planning, and ran two branches.

"It was during that time that I met Robson. He banked in my branch, so I got to know him well. He asked me one Christmas if I fancied leaving and going to work for him.

"I was asked to be a PA, but actually a jack of all trades. So I decided to leave my security at the bank and go to work for him. Within a few weeks, the job became lots of other things - youth theatre, the production company, etc, etc.

"It's just grown from there. In 1996, we rented a 12ft by 12 ft 'box' in the Live Theatre. We were there for two years. They had been given a lottery grant to buy this building. Everything up here was covered in pigeon poop - it was just terrible. It took eight months to get it put right.

"I knew nothing about television production, so we started off co-producing. I thought it was the best avenue to learn the industry. …

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