Working Title Television UK has bolstered its development team with the hires of Surian Fletcher-Jones and Georgina Gordon-Smith. Ex-Channel 4 head of drama development, Fletcher-Jones joins the team as head of development. United Agents’ Gordon-Smith has been appointed development executive. At C4, Fletcher-Jones oversaw such scripted productions as Indian Summers and Cucumber. She was previously head of drama development at Scott Free Films. Gordon-Smith is a founding member and partner of United Agents, repping screenwriters and heading up the book-to-film department. The executives will work with WT TV’s Managing Director Andrew Woodhead to develop high-end scripted British programming with international and commercial appeal. The company’s credits include Sky1/NBC dramedy You, Me And The Apocalypse and BBC Two/BBC America’s London Spy. The team will also work closely with Working Title’s Film and U.S. television business which recently saw Naomi Watts-starrer Gypsy greenlit for Netflix. They will also work in unison with NBCUniversal International Studios, led by Michael Edelstein and JoAnn Alfano.
As Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May rev up their new motoring show, The Grand Tour, Amazon has set a series of filming dates in the U.S., the UK, Germany and South Africa. The live segments will be shot in front of a studio audience inside giant tents with further locations to be added. Amazon is offering fans a chance to win tickets and will reveal the exact city locations later in the summer. The Grand Tour launches in the fall. Word of the live plans comes after the trio’s erstwhile series, Top Gear, lost its host this week after one season of poor ratings on BBC Two.
Perfect World Pictures, the Chinese group that in February set a multi-year slate financing agreement with Universal, is partnering with Gopher Asset Management to launch a 2B rmb ($300M) fund. China Money Network reports the investment vehicle is looking to build a strong global IP portfolio via entertainment asset acquisitions and partnerships with “top cultural firms,” according to a securities filing. Perfect World, which develops games and is keen to move deeper into film, is commiting 500M rmb with Gopher raising the remainder. Gopher is a unit of U.S.-listed Chinese wealth management firm Noah Holdings.
Ahead of the U.S. launch of Fifty Fathoms and Keshet UK’s BBC One drama, The A Word on Sundance TV next week, Keshet International has licensed a local version to Greek broadcaster, Alpha TV. The Word You Don’t Say will be produced by Indigo View and written by Katerina Giannakou (Koukles). Director is Theo Papadoulakis. The 13-part series will tell the story of Ayelet, played by Maria Protopappa (The Island) and Yaniv (Vasilis Bisbikis of The City Of Children), who are parents to young Omri (Giorgos Stentoumis), who has been newly diagnosed with autism, and teenage daughter Nati, (Pinelopi Tsilika of Little England). The original A Word is created and written by Keren Margalit and focuses on a family’s painful and often humorous journey of denial and introspection after their 5-year-old son is diagnosed with autism. It’s one of the most-watched drama series ever in Israel and won five Israeli Academy Awards in 2011. The UK version averaged 5.5M viewers and a 22 share. A second season was recently greenlit.