Cocoa Black in BBC TV Series The River

Ruth opens the doors to The Chocolate Factory in a six-part BBC TV series.

In February 2016, BBC TV approached Ruth Hinks, UK World Chocolate Master, to take part in a television series called The River. The six episodes were filmed between April and September that year, and charted the daily lives of people living and working in The Royal Burgh of Peebles and other towns along the beautiful Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.

Series producer, Steven Todd and his film crew, Emma and Lyndsay, worked tirelessly behind the scenes at Cocoa Black, often arriving at 5am, when Ruth begins work. They followed Ruth and husband David in their daily lives as they tackled the challenge of growing their internationally renowned chocolate business alongside bringing up a young family.

In the early days, Steven often turned up at The Chocolate Factory under the pretence of needing additional footage. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), he usually arrived just as the production team had finished preparing the day’s chocolate, cakes and patisserie!

As filming progressed, Ruth and the team quickly became accustomed to the cameras rolling, often forgetting they were there. Ruth’s children, Aiden and Delphine, however, were much more aware of their surroundings, and behaved beautifully when in front of the camera. Alas, this quickly descended into the normal fracas when off-screen!

The production crew followed several storylines, including the preparation of patisseries for the Cocoa Black boutique, a surprise visit by Ruth’s parents from Tasmania, and the Royal opening of The Chocolate & Pastry School by HRH Prince Edward.

Broadcast over six weeks starting in November, The River helped to make Ruth into a household name.

Cocoa Black witnessed unprecedented demand in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and classes at The Chocolate & Pastry School are usually fully booked. Aiden and Delphine have also enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, and new-found celebrity status at school.


Filming at Cocoa Black was an absolute joy. The hard work made easy with an endless supply of chocolate delights!

Steven Todd
Series Producer, BBC The River