Photography by Katie O'Neill
Born in Rochdale in 1968, Nicola grew up in the Whitefield area of Greater Manchester. She attended Bury Grammar School and graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.
Nicola Shindler in 2019 with her BAFTA Special Award recognising her outstanding contribution to the television industry (Image: Dave Fisher/BAFTA)
Nicola’s first job was working as a sales manager at Royal Court Theatre, eventually working as a script reader there. She realised after a couple of years that she was more interested in the process of writing and working with writers in television rather than theatre. Nicola then got a job at the BBC as a trainee script editor before moving to Granada Television where she came to prominence as a script editor on the 1993 drama series Cracker. Nicola went on to work as assistant producer on the BBC's Our Friends in the North (1996) and producer on Hillsborough, a dramatised account of the 1989 football stadium disaster.
In 1998, she formed RED Production Company - named after her beloved Manchester United. Its first project, with Nicola producing, was gay drama serial Queer as Folk, which gave RED a reputation as producers of noteworthy drama. Renowned for her relationships with writers, Nicola has worked with an array of the UK’s most prolific and exciting writing talent. Under her stewardship, RED has since produced multiple award-winning dramas for BBC One, BBC Two, Sky, ITV, UKTV and Netflix, including Clocking Off (2000–03), Flesh and Blood (2002), Bob and Rose (2001), The Second Coming (2003), Casanova (2005), Unforgiven (2009), Worried About the Boy (2010), Scott & Bailey (2011-16) and Happy Valley (2014-16). Playwright Sally Wainwright credits Nicola with bringing Last Tango in Halifax to BBC TV in 2012.
Nicola Shindler OBE is a Manchester based multi award-winning television producer and executive and founder of the independent television drama production company Quay Street Productions. With over 25 years’ experience in television and multiple BAFTA TV and RTS Awards, Nicola has produced some of the UK’s most successful and award-winning dramas.
In 2013, it was announced that Nicola had sold a majority stake RED Production Company to the French media company StudioCanal.
Other productions she executive produced include The Five (2016), Trust Me (2017 - 19), Come Home (2018), Safe (2019), Russell T Davies' Cucumber (2015) and Years and Years (2019), Traces (2019), Butterfly (2019) and The Stranger (2020).
In 2021, Nicola departed RED and launched new scripted production company Quay Street Productions, within ITV Studios, focusing on producing premium drama for the UK and the international market. The label is based on Quay Street in Manchester, adjacent to the old Granada Studios site.
Nicola Shindler - Quay Street Productions
2021 has been a busy year with the release of a number of her final productions for RED including Finding Alice (ITV), It’s a Sin (Channel 4), Ridley Road (BBC and BBC iPlayer from 3rd October), No Return (ITV), Traces series 2 (UKTV) and Harlan Coben’s Stay Close for Netflix, alongside developing new projects for Quay Street.
Manchester is a really strong base to make and deliver drama because the depth of talent in the region offers so much potential. As well as the very flexible locations, in driving distance of each other means a variety of visual elements are affordable for each project.
In 2019, Nicola was awarded an OBE and took home one of BAFTA’s highest honours, the Special Award, for her services to British Broadcasting.
Nicola is married to screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh and they have three children.
THE SHOOT: Quay Street Productions, Manchester
The offices of Nicola's independent production company
Student reflection: Katie O'Neill
Nicola and her team were very welcoming. Her new production company HQ on Quay Street in Manchester provided the backdrop for the shoot. The main office space we used was flooded with natural light and furnished with 1960/70s retro chairs sofas and tables giving me lots of options when directing and posing Nicola. We then moved into the office’s main hub where her many awards were on display. The last shots took advantage of the ‘Quay Street Productions’ street sign on the wall which gave nice context to the last few portraits.
Nicola & Katie
The shoot - in the Quay Street Productions office
I have to say, I am very pleased with the final photos. I believe I have managed to capture Nicola’s likeable down-to-earth personality. These images are a very welcome addition to the project.