UPDATED: Suzanne Mackie, one of the U.K.’s foremost drama executives, has departed “The Crown” producer Left Bank Pictures after 12 years to set up her own independent production company, Orchid Pictures. Variety understands from sources that the producer has also struck an exclusive deal with Netflix.
Mackie has been a key architect of “The Crown’s” success on Netflix from the very beginning, playing a key part in shepherding the Golden Globe-winning show’s first four seasons and working closely with writer Peter Morgan. She will continue as an executive producer on the show for its forthcoming seasons 5 and 6.
Based in London, Mackie’s Orchid Pictures will work across television and film, and she will continue working with Netflix through Orchid Pictures. Variety understands Mackie will be developing projects for the streamer on what’s believed to be an exclusive basis. Sources tell Variety that the streaming giant, which did not issue the news of Mackie’s new production company nor the Netflix arrangement itself, is hyper-sensitive around the optics of its U.K. talent deals. A year ago, the SVOD struck a major overall deal with “The Crown” scribe Morgan, while earlier this year, Netflix confirmed its investment in “Black Mirror” creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ new production outfit Broke & Bones.
Sony Pictures Television are majority backers of Left Bank Pictures, though the studio isn’t believed to have any kind of stake in Orchid.
Said Mackie: “Having spent 12 very happy and creatively fulfilling years working with Andy Harries and the team at Left Bank Pictures, starting my own company felt like an exciting next chapter in my career. The opportunity of further deepening my collaboration with Netflix presented an immensely exciting opportunity.
“I am delighted that I can continue the onward journey of ‘The Crown’ with Peter Morgan, Left Bank Pictures and the rest of ‘The Crown’ team whilst building Orchid Pictures; ‘The Crown’ has become a significant part of my life.”
Mackie added that Sky drama executive Hannah Campbell will also join Orchid. “[Hannah] and I have high hopes for Orchid Pictures and the prospect of working with Netflix to create a bespoke slate of projects — from emerging and established talent — which reflect our passion, vision and taste,” said Mackie.
Mackie joined Left Bank Pictures in 2009 and was promoted to creative director in 2012. Apart from “The Crown,” she developed and executive produced four seasons of BAFTA-nominated Sky One drama “Mad Dogs,” which was adapted in the U.S. for Amazon Prime Video. She also executive produced BBC One’s “The Replacement” and the forthcoming Netflix six-part drama “Behind Her Eyes.”
The executive recently originated and produced the feature film “Misbehaviour” for Pathe, directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and starring Keira Knightly, Jessie Buckley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Other film credits at Left Bank include Ayub Khan Din’s “All In Good Time,” directed by Nigel Cole, and Clio Barnard’s “Dark River.”
Before joining Left Bank, Mackie was a development executive at Harbour Pictures and, prior to that, worked for BBC Drama Serials. After striking a first-look deal with Buena Vista International, Mackie originated and produced her first feature film, the award winning “Calendar Girls” (2003), and produced “Kinky Boots” for Miramax in 2006.
Mackie is an active member of the National Film and Television School, BFI, RTS and BAFTA.
Andy Harries, CEO of Left Bank Pictures, added: “I have enjoyed an amazing journey with Suzanne, from ‘Mad Dogs’ to ‘Misbehaviour’ with lots of ‘The Crown’ on top! She is smart, wise and has great taste. I have no doubt she will create some classy new shows for Netflix as well as riding sidesaddle with us on ‘The Crown.’”