×

Colin Callender’s Playground Strengthens U.K. TV Drama Team

Colin Callender’s New York- and London-based production company Playground has restructured its U.K. television production team with two key promotions and a new hire. The move is is designed to help support Playground’s expanding slate of television productions.

Playground has promoted its former creative director, Sophie Gardiner, to head of drama and executive creative director, overseeing Playground’s U.K. television production and development slate. Gardiner originally joined Playground in 2014 after having been commissioning editor for drama at U.K. broadcaster Channel 4.

The company has also hired Melissa Gallant as creative director to strengthen its U.K. production team. Gallant joins Playground from U.K. production company Fifty Fathoms, where she served as head of development. Recent Fifty Fathoms productions include John Ridley’s “Guerrilla” for Showtime in the U.S. and Sky in the U.K.

Gallant will serve alongside Katie Draper, who has been promoted to creative director from senior development executive.

“Good storytelling has never felt more important, and I’m thrilled to have such a strong team with Melissa and Katie spearheading our upcoming development slate,” said Gardiner. “By expanding our creative team we hope to continue to deliver on our ambition to make Playground a home for the best writing talent, both established and new, from television, theater and film.”

Playground is currently in production on its four-part adaptation of E.M. Forster’s “Howards End” (pictured) for the BBC and Starz. The drama stars Hayley Atwell and Matthew MacFadyen and was adapted from the novel by Oscar-winner Kenneth Lonergan.

Other upcoming high-end U.K. dramas on the company’s slate include an adaptation of “King Lear,” starring Anthony Hopkins, for the BBC, and a new three-part adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” from “Call the Midwife” creator Heidi Thomas for the BBC and PBS’ Masterpiece, which is set to shoot in July.

Previous TV hits include the BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winning historical drama “Wolf Hall.” Playground’s stage productions include current hit “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which recently won a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards for its London West End production and is set to transfer to Broadway’s Lyric Theater in spring 2018.

More TV

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

  • Carnival Row

    Amazon Debuts New 'Carnival Row' Footage at Comic-Con (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con attendees got an extended look at the upcoming Amazon drama “Carnival Row” during the show’s panel at the annual fanfest on Friday. Two new featurettes (see above and below) offer in-depth looks at the backstories of the two main characters — Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) and Rycroft Philostrate (Orlando Bloom). Delevigne plays [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content