Home shopping giant N Brown has teamed up with controversial newspaper tycoon Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express and OK! magazine, to launch ‘the UK’s first branded television shopping channel’.

The retailer is understood to have formed a joint venture with Desmond-owned media company Northern and Shell to steer the project. A managing director is being sought.

It is predicted the channel will turn over£100 million within three years of launch. Northern and Shell’s Express Newspapers arm is thought to be closely involved with the project.

N Brown, which owns a raft of catalogue brands such as JD Williams and Simply Be, is thought to view television as a natural extension to mail order. At present, TV shopping is dominated by QVC, which made sales of£225.7 million last year.

Chief executive Alan White was unavailable for comment, but is known to be keen to develop N Brown’s multi-channel offer and widen its appeal.

The number of multi-channel homes in the UK is expected to reach 20 million within five years.

Northern and Shell already has a clutch of television channels, making the link-up painless. It will also draw on the expertise of N Brown’s fulfilment arm, Zendor.

The first round of interviews for a managing director is understood to have taken place. The appointee will take responsibility for all aspects of the start-up, from content to product-sourcing and fulfilment.

Both N Brown, due to deliver prelims on May 12, and Express Newspapers refused to comment.