Playground Hires Business Affairs Chief; RTS Craft Awards; Viaplay Original – Global Briefs

By Peter White, Nancy Tartaglione

Howards End producer Playground Entertainment has hired the BBC’s Dan Leon as Head of Business Affairs and Director of Operations. Leon, who worked on series including The Night Manager, Happy Valley and Wolf Hall during his 11 years at the British broadcaster, has been charged with managing the strategic growth and day-to-day running of Playground. Based in London, he will report to Playground Founder and Chairman Colin Callender, who said he first met Leon on Wolf Hall and was “immediately impressed by his deep understanding of how the business and the creative imperatives of production intersect”. “He is a great addition to our management team and, as our production slate expands under Sophie’s leadership, Dan’s commercial and operational expertise will play a vital role in the company’s ability to take full advantage of rapidly changing television landscape,” Callender added.


The Royal Television Society handed out its RTS Craft & Design Awards 2017 this week in London with BBC One/FX’s Taboo picking up three prizes. The BBC’s World War One Remembered: Passchendaele also scored a trio of awards. For their work on Taboo, which is created by Peaky Blinders‘ Steven Knight with Tom Hardy and his dad, Chips Hardy, costume designer Joanna Eatwell received the prize for Costume Design – Drama; Erika Okvist, Jan Archibald and Audrey Doyle won the Make Up Design – Drama category; and the sound team collected the award for Sound – Drama. World War One Remembered: Passchendaele, which marked the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, took the Judges’ Award, which recognized the complex and ambitious nature of the BBC live event series. Nigel Catmur collected the award for Lighting for Multicamera and the sound team the award for Sound – Entertainment & Non Drama. BBC nature documentary series Planet Earth II also scored wins, for Design & Craft Innovation and Photography – Documentary/Factual & Non Drama. White Gold (BBC Two) and Three Girls (BBC One) also picked-up two prizes each, with Caroline Pitcher receiving the award for Costume Design – Entertainment & Non Drama and Damon Beesley picking up the Director – Comedy Drama/Situation Comedy category for White Gold. Úna Ní Dhonghaíle collected the Editing – Drama prize and Matt Gray received the Photography – Drama & Comedy award for Three Girls. Netflix was a winner for The Crown’s digital effects team, and in the Production Design – Drama category for Black Mirror: Nosedive. For a full list of winners, go here.

MTG Studios has set suspense thriller Rig 45 as its next original. It will debut on MTG’s Nordic video streaming service Viaplay in summer 2018. Versailles’ Catherine Walker stars as Andrea who is sent to investigate a fatal accident on a North Sea oil rig two days before Christmas. Met by an inexplicable wall of silence from the crew, she begins to suspect something is very wrong — and when a hurricane slams into Rig 45, cutting off all communications with the outside world, the crew find themselves battling both the elements and a shockingly devious killer. Co-stars are Gary Lewis (Outlander), Lisa Henni (Easy Money) and Søren Malling (A Hijacking). Mopar Media Group is producing with ITV Studios Global Entertainment handling global sales.

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