Former News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck has launched an ambitious new online venture called TalentGB.
Thurlbeck told Press Gazette that the idea for the new website came to him in a dream a year after his September 2011 sacking from the News of the World.
Describing itself as the “the UK entertainment industry’s only one stop talent shop for artistes of every genre to display their showreels and take bookings” TalentGB aims to make money by charging all those listed a £19.99 annual subscription (the first 1,000 listings will be free). It also carries advertising.
TalentGB also offers PR services from Andrea Thurlbeck (Neville’s sister) and Andy Barker as well as web design, videography and photography from former Sun and Daily Mirror staffer Harry Page.
Thurlbeck said: “TalentGB is a one stop talent shop for artistes of every genre to display their showreels and take bookings on line. It will be a very public platform for them and their agents. And an extremely useful directory for venues all over the UK who will now see the showreels of the acts they want to book under one roof and effectively audition them before hiring them.
"James Whale is using us to stage his weekly podcast Whale’s Weekly which is rapidly gaining a cult following. And Funny Women, the hugely successful body which showcases the talents of female comedians, are also bonded to us and will be linking to our site and encouraging their members to display their showreels with us.”
In August 2012, Thurlbeck was charged with being part of a conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages whilst working at the News of the World. He is set to face trial later this year.
On this subject he said: “Whatever will be will be on the Operation Weeting front. All I know is, everything I did was approved by News International’s lawyers so I don’t really see what more I could have done and there is substantial evidence to support this.
"It’s not my main preoccupation. All my thoughts and energies are focused on TalentGB. I've never had so much fun in my career."