Sweden-based Embracer Group, the new owners of Middle Earth Enterprises – the holding company that owns “The Lord of the Rings” among other J.R.R. Tolkien titles – has appointed Careen Yapp to the newly created position of chief strategic partnerships officer. Yapp will serve as part of the group executive management team that also includes Lars Wingefors, CEO, Johan Ekström, CFO and deputy CEO and Ian Gulam, chief of staff, legal and governance.

Yapp will be responsible for aligning strategic group partnership objectives with each operative group to drive group-wide results and work together with the executive management team and the operative groups to shape group partnerships, lead business development at group level as well as drive business synergies and collaborations across the group.

Yapp joins Embracer Group from Google Stadia where she led the strategic direction and pursuit of global content partnerships for Stadia and entry point partnerships for Immersive Stream for Games. Prior to Google, Careen led business development and account management at Gaikai, a division of Sony Computer Entertainment.


Meanwhile, John de Mol‘s Netherlands based non-scripted formats outfit Talpa has hired Ingrid Akkerman as its head of creative partnerships and format sales and Marina Chikalovets as format sales manager. Akkerman was most recently was head of sales at ITV Global Entertainment. At Talpa, Akkerman will further build the Talpa Creative Partnership proposition, which has led to hit formats like “Million Dollar Island” and “Hunting Season.” Chikalovets has an extensive background in format production and format acquisition for premium platforms and will focus on format sales at Talpa.


“Winnie the Pooh The Musical” has set its cast for its upcoming U.K. run. Jake Bazel (pictured below), who originated the role in New York, is set to play the tubby little cubby stuffed with fluff alongside Benjamin Durham (“Young Frankenstein”). Bazel and Durham will share the role in London with Durham playing Pooh on the subsequent U.K. and Ireland tour. Rounding out the cast are  Laura Bacon, Harry Boyd, Alex Cardall, Chloe Gentles, Lottie Grogan and Robbie Noonan (“Avenue Q” U.K. Tour).

The show, which was created and is directed by Jonathan Rockefeller (“Paddington Gets in a Jam”), is set to open at London’s Riverside Studios on March 26. “Winnie the Pooh The Musical” is produced in association with Disney Theatrical Productions.


Entertainment One has acquired the television adaption rights to Janice Hallett’s bestselling novel “The Twyford Code” and will develop it as a series in partnership with Cameron Roach’s company Rope Ladder.

“The Twyford Code” is told, found-footage style, via automatic transcriptions of recordings made by a former prisoner determined to discover what happened to his teacher. Miss Iles vanished on a school trip in 1983 after becoming convinced there were hidden codes in the work of a disgraced children’s author. 

This will be the first project under Entertainment One’s first-look deal with BAFTA-winning film and television writer, director and producer Paul Andrew Williams (“The Walk In”), who will direct the series. Entertainment One will handle the global rights. 


Sudhanshu Saria‘s “Sanaa,” starring Radhika Madan, will have its North American premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (Feb. 8-18). The Indian film is an introspective drama about an ambitious and headstrong woman who is fighting an internal battle due to unresolved trauma. The cast also includes Soham Shah, Shikha Talsania and Pooja Bhatt. “Sanaa” had its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in 2022.


The BBC has revealed that the slogan for the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest is “United by Music” and has revealed a visual identity. The contest, is being hosted in Liverpool on behalf of last year winners Ukraine, where the Russian military invasion continues.

The slogan is designed to demonstrate the partnership between the U.K., Ukraine and Liverpool and to reflect the origins of the contest, developed to bring Europe closer together through a shared TV experience across different countries.

The look of the visual identity, designed through a creative partnership between Superunion agency in the U.K. and Ukrainian creative studio Starlight Creative, is inspired by the Ukrainian and U.K. flags.