PARIS– Aiming to strengthen its position in the U.K., Studiocanal is joining forces with RED Production Company, producer Spencer Millman (“Harry Hill’s TV Burp”), actors and writers Simon Bird (“The Inbetweeners”) and Jonny Sweet (“Chickens”) to launch Guilty Party, a U.K. television and film banner.
The new outfit will be creatively spearheaded by Nicola Shindler, RED’s exec producer and founder. Studiocanal, which has a 25% share in Guilty Party, will handle worldwide distribution for the company’s productions.
Deal fits into Studiocanal’s strategy to extend its reach in key European markets and become a major purveyor of local and international TV hits.
“There is a fantastic opportunity for Studiocanal to become the main house for European talents in TV series, so we are very happy to have Spencer Millman, Simon Bird and Jonny Sweet join our family,” said Romain Bessi, Studiocanal’s COO, CFO and head of TV series. “They bring very complementary skills and experience, so with the support of Nicola Shindler, our sales and marketing teams but also our other partners, we really believe that together we can create series that will reach a global audience.”
The Vivendi-owned powerhouse is already established in the United Kingdom via RED Production Company (“Happy Valley”) since 2013, in Germany through Tandem (“Spotless”) since 2012 and in Scandinavia with SAM, a new banner which Studiocanal created last year with Adam Price, Soren Sveistrup and Meta Foldager. Studiocanal inked two co-development agreements with Svensk and Spark to work with Scandinavian creative talents.
Millman said he was looking forward to “(supporting and promoting) the most exciting new and established writers and talent in the industry and make programmes we feel very passionate about.”
“It is a privilege to be working with some of the funniest and most talented names in comedy and I am looking forward to developing a slate of new TV and theatrical content for UK and international audiences,” added Shindler.
Guilty Party brings together some of the U.K.’s hottest comedy execs and talent: Millman has produced “Harry Hill’s TV Burp,””The Mighty Boosh,” “Bo Selecta,””Man Down” and “The Inbetweeners 2.”
Meanwhile, Bird starred in is best known as Will McKenzie in the BAFTA-winning “The Inbetweeners” (pictured above) and for his part in “Friday Night Dinner.” One of the U.K.’s highest-grossing comedy franchises, “The Inbetweeners” and the two spinoff movies grossed £42 million and £35 million at the U.K. box office. On top of being an actor, Bird also created “The King Is Dead” for BBC3 and co-created “Chickens” for Sky1.
Sweet is also an actor, writer, and performer whose credits include “Babylon” and “Him and Her.”