BBC Worldwide Exec Ben Donald Sets up TV Indie Banner
Donald, who brokered deals for BBC's commercial arm on shows such as "Death in Paradise," is partnering with "Misfits" creator Clerkenwell Films to launch an indie TV production shingle.
BBC Worldwide international drama guru Ben Donald is setting up indie production banner Cosmopolitan Pictures, and partnering with Clerkenwell Films, the company behind U.K. broadcaster Channel 4's cult TV hit Misfits.
BBC Worldwide, the public broadcaster's money-making commercial arm, has inked an output deal with Cosmopolitan Pictures, giving it access to sales duties on any future commissions.
Donald's Cosmopolitan Pictures will aim to develop and produce "distinctive, ambitious drama for the U.K. and international markets."
Donald will work in conjunction with BBC Worldwide to secure international co-production funding for projects and he will remain a BBC Worldwide employee on a part-time basis, in order to assist on raising co-production finance for identified BBC Worldwide drama projects.
Previous international co-production agreements for BBC Worldwide and the BBC brokered by Donald include global hits such as Death in Paradise (with France Televisions), Parade’s End (with HBO and ARTE France), The Spies of Warsaw (with TV Poland and ARTE France), and Zen (with RTI, ZDF and WGBH).
Donald said: "I have always been creatively involved in the evolution and production of the shows I’ve helped put together. I’m delighted now to have the opportunity and support to develop and produce my own ideas. This is a logical next step, having learned from some of the top talent in the business, and in Clerkenwell Films I have the perfect partner."
BBC Worldwide chief content officer Helen Jackson said the commercial arm will "benefit from any generation of content, as well as retaining Ben’s entrepreneurial skills."
Murray Ferguson, chief executive of Clerkenwell Films said: "The experience and ambitions brought together by this strategic alliance will make a potent force at a time when scripted programming is becoming more and more global facing. It’s a compelling and complementary addition to Clerkenwell’s own extensive development and production slate."
Donald has worked for BBC Worldwide since 2001 in a variety of roles including sales & distribution with responsibility for Italy, Spain, Russia and Latin America.
In 2012-13, BBC Worldwide generated headline profits of $258 million (£156 million) and headline sales of $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) and returned $258 million (£156 million) to the BBC.