BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the U.K. pubcaster, has acquired a majority stake in Sid Gentle Films, the noted drama producer behind a raft of scripted shows. The deal hands Worldwide a majority stake in the company with an option to step-up its investment at a later date.
Sally Woodward Gentle, a former creative director at “Downton Abbey” producer Carnival, founded Sid Gentle in 2013 with with Lee Morris and Henrietta Colvin. Since then it has made several big-ticket series including “The Durrells” for ITV and Masterpiece, “SS-GB” for the BBC, Neil Gaiman’s “Likely Stories” for Sky, and the upcoming BBC America Phoebe Waller-Bridge drama “Killing Eve” (pictured).
The London-based producer is working with top-tier writing talent including Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, Simon Nye, William Boyd, Jesse Armstrong and Amelia Bullmore.
Woodward Gentle said that Worldwide, which distributes several Sid Gentle shows, is the ideal partner as the company moves to the next phase. “Their respect for our independence coupled with their extraordinary industry links and sales ability is really exciting,” she said. “Sid has built a reputation working with extraordinary talent and developing projects we believe in and it is very exciting to further our ambitions to create and deliver impactful drama.”
Helen Jackson has overseen many of Worldwide’s investments into independents. She said: “Sid Gentle has already delivered several much-loved dramas and we are super excited by what we have seen so far of their latest – ‘Killing Eve.’ They represent perfectly the creative vibrancy that is British drama right now.”
The deal was negotiated on behalf of Sid Gentle by Lyndsey Posner, of Independent Talent Group and Matt Garside, director of independent production for BBC Worldwide. The BBC business arm has been actively buying into U.K. producers, feeding its distribution pipeline. Last week it upped its stake in Clerkenwell Films.