BBC Worldwide has continued its aggressive acquisition drive, buying a majority stake in Killing Eve producer Sid Gentle Films. The deal is the latest indie purchase by the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster and comes a week after it increased its stake in Clerkenwell Films, the British production company behind Netflix co-production The End of the F***ing World.
The deal follows a distribution agreement between BBC Worldwide and Sid Gentle Films and includes an option for the distributor to purchase more of the firm in the coming years. Sid Gentle Films is currently producing forthcoming BBC America original Killing Eve, exec produced by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller Bridge and has also produced series including as The Durrells for ITV and PBS Masterpiece and SS-GB for the BBC. It was set up by Sally Woodward Gentle in 2013 along with Lee Morris and Henrietta Colvin and also has relationships with writers including Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Simon Nye, William Boyd, Jesse Armstrong and Amelia Bullmore.
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Sid Gentle Films by Lyndsey Posner, Managing Director of Independent Talent Group and Matt Garside, Director of Independent Production for BBC Worldwide.
It is the latest indie investment deal for BBC Worldwide, which owns stakes in production firms including Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell’s House Productions, Two Cities Television, which is co-producing the TV adaptation of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong’s Various Artists Limited, War and Peace producer Lookout Point, Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow and doc producer 72 Films.
Sid Gentle Films CEO Sally Woodward Gentle said: “We couldn’t be more delighted to be joining forces with BBC Worldwide. Their respect for our independence coupled with their extraordinary industry links and sales ability is really exciting. Sid has built a reputation working with extraordinary talent and developing projects we believe in and it is very exciting to further our ambitions to create and deliver impactful drama. We have enjoyed working with BBC Worldwide in the past so can’t wait for this new phase in Sid’s life”.
Helen Jackson, BBC Worldwide’s Managing Director of Content, who recently announced she is leaving the company at the end of the year, added: “We have enjoyed working with Sally and her team immensely over the past three years and this is a great opportunity to build on our partnership. Sid Gentle has already delivered several much-loved dramas and we are super excited by what we have seen so far of their latest – Killing Eve. They represent perfectly the creative vibrancy that is British drama right now”.
Elsewhere, BBC Worldwide has revealed details of its forthcoming annual Showcase event in Liverpool. The distributor is expecting buyers from around the world as well as a raft of digital execs from Google, Apple, Netflix, Microsoft, Facebook-Oculus, Hulu and Amazon at the event, which runs from February 18 to 21. Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker, Luther’s Idris Elba, Press‘ Charlotte Riley and Alan Partridge’s Steve Coogan are set to attend as the firm launches series including The Split and Serengeti.
Paul Dempsey, President Global Markets, BBC Worldwide, said: “We continually evolve Showcase to make sure it fits the needs of our customers and this year we’ll be hosting a wider range of companies than ever before. We’ll also be joined by many of the key names from Britain’s biggest independent production companies, including BBC Studios, as well as producers, broadcasters and financiers from all around the world who’ll be discussing their latest content strategies, new projects and global trends.”