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BBC buys stake in Big Talk

Former BBC comedy topper named CEO

LONDON — BBC Worldwide’s acquisitions spree shows no sign of ending as it takes a 25% stake in U.K. shingle Big Talk.

The move coincides with ex-BBC comedy topper Kenton Allen being tapped by the indie as joint CEO.

Helen Jackson, BBC Worldwide director of independents, said: “There’s palpable excitement and fantastic creative energy around the ideas and ambition of Big Talk – when you talk to them you can really feel it.

“We can’t wait to get started with them and help take their productions to audiences around the world.”

Big Talk, founded by Nira Park who was hailed three years ago by Variety as one of the “top ten producers to watch,” is the second comedy specialist Worldwide has invested in of late.

Earlier this fall Worldwide announced it had bought a slice of Baby Cow, Steve Coogan’s U.K. production company.

Worldwide, under fire in Blighty because critics claim its activities are becoming too blatantly commercial, last year bought a stake in upstart shingle Left Bank Productions, set up by former Granada drama topper Andy Harries.

Additionally, Worldwide has invested in Oz independent The Freehand Group, which is producing a local version of high-profile auto skein “Top Gear.”