Creative Scotland's director of screen quits after less than four years

Natalie Usher is the current figurehead for the film and TV industries in Scotland.Natalie Usher is the current figurehead for the film and TV industries in Scotland.
Natalie Usher is the current figurehead for the film and TV industries in Scotland.
The figurehead for Scotland's troubled film and TV sector has quit - just weeks after ambitious new targets for the industry were set.

Natalie Usher, director of screen at Creative Scotland, is to leave the quango after a tenure of less than four years.

She was one of the key figures involved in a rescue plan aimed at doubling the value of productions in the space of five years to around £140 million.

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Ms Usher had been expected to overseas the launch of a proposed new “screen unit,” which was given the go-ahead just before Christmas by the Scottish Government following months of behind-the-scenes talks.

Ministers had already agreed to double its backing for the screen sector to £20 million following a protracted lobbying campaign from the industry.

Creative Scotland today insisted Ms Usher, a former lawyer who began working with Creative Scotland in May 2014, had tendered her resignation after the screen unit plans were approved by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

The blueprint envisages the nation’s film and TV industries becoming “more vibrant, strong and resilient” in future.

Another key aim is for the Scottish screen sector to become “internationally competitive and recognised as a centre of excellence and innovation for content development and production, talent, skilled craft and technical crews, infrastructure, facilities companies, exhibition and film education.”

In a statement released via Creative Scotland, Ms Usher said: “It has been a privilege to work towards achieving the ambitions for the industry set out in Creative Scotland’s film Strategy with the brilliant screen team and Scotland’s incredible talent.

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“I joined the organisation at what was a challenging time for film and TV in Scotland and leave when we have secured vital government commitment and financial support.

“It’s an exciting time of change and possibility. I wish the whole organisation the very best for the years to come.”

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Creative Scotland chief executive Janet Archer said: “Natalie’s work with our screen team has stimulated major new opportunities locally and globally for Scotland’s screen sector.

“Over the past four years she has transformed Creative Scotland’s approach to supporting screen and established a strong foundation for the future.

“We are very sorry to see her step down and wish her well for the future.”