Brit hit revisited

Financing arranged sans single web deal

LONDON — The 1970s British action series “The Professionals” is being resurrected through an innovative financing deal that has raised £10.8 million ($17.3 million) for 26 new episodes.

“The New Professionals” will start shooting in September, with the original show’s creator, Brian Clemens, acting as creative consultant and penning some of the scripts.

The original version, which ran for five seasons, centered on the crime-busting adventures of two tough agents and their canny boss in a fictional branch of the British security service. It was one of British TV’s biggest export successes, selling to 60 countries.

It’s largely on the strength of the show’s continuing cult status around the world that producer David Wickes has managed to arrange financing for the “The New Professionals” without a single network sale.

Capital idea

Most of the money comes in the form of a $12.5 million equity investment from two capital gains reinvestment plans entitled the Matrix Partnership 1 and 2. An additional $4.8 million in gap finance was secured from Bank Leumi, arranged by Peter Hitchen’s Media Affiliates.

The entire structure was underwritten by an insurance deal arranged by Flashpoint with the brokerage house Lloyd Thompson. This insurance package was based on sales estimates from David Lamping’s Sovereign Pictures, which will handle the international sales of the series.

The actual production budget of the new series will be $13.6 million, with the extra $3.7 million covering the financing cost.

Hitchen said: “There has been a certain amount of industry skepticism that we would be able to raise 100% of the required financing without resorting to the normal U.K. license fee negotiations.

“We are obviously delighted that we have proved the doubting Thomases wrong, and that David Lamping is now able to negotiate global licensing deals on a level playing field.”

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