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Another scripted TV venture has entered the ring, but one founded by three of the most respected names in British TV drama and launching with the backing of a major U.S. entity.
The Story Company, announced Tuesday, reunites Damian Keogh and Simon Vaughan — who were both at Lookout Point, the banner behind prestige dramas including War and Peace, A Suitable Boy, Gentleman Jack and Les Miserables — and Helen Jackson, the former content chief of BBC Worldwide (now BBC Studios). Jackson, who built BBC Worldwide’s production business by guiding indie success stories including Left Bank, Baby Cow and Clerkenwell and overseeing its programming fund, was on the board of Lookout on behalf of the BBC, which fully acquired the company in 2018.
Described as a U.K.-based global content studio, The Story Company won’t simply be aiming to develop and package scripted projects. Backed to make “expansive moves” by Endeavor Content, according to the launch announcement, it will also look to make equity investments into content businesses, ranging from start-ups to more established producers, aiming to build a “family of creative partnerships into a boutique portfolio.”
Keogh leaves his role as managing director of Lookout Point to become CEO of The Story Company, while Jackson becomes executive chair and Lookout founder Vaughan — who left in 2019 — is executive director.
“We are carefully crafting a welcoming and exciting company, specifically for U.K. creative talent,” said Keogh, who prior to joining Lookout was head of drama at BBC Worldwide. “Inspired by our passion for storytelling, we want to build a patient, flexible and ambitious home where our talent partners can thrive. With Endeavor Content behind us, we are supported by a creative global powerhouse that shares our ambitions and will provide the support and resources we need.”
Added Vaughan: “It’s a thrill to be putting the ‘band back together’ and to fill a gap in the market for independent creatives who want us to help them to get their projects made, as well as for creatives within established media groups who may wish to use our skills. We are that truly independent partner who can bring insight and impetus across the platform landscape.”
Joining The Story Company’s board as non-executive directors are Lookout’s long-term advisor Jonathan Norman (MD at global investment bank GCA Altium) and Endeavor co-president Chris Rice.
“Having experienced the growth of the Indie sector through my time at the BBC, it is exciting to now bring a globally-focused opportunity to the UK sector, whilst remaining a fierce champion of British creativity,” said Jackson. “We believe that the strength of this team and the impact we can have for our talent partners is second to none.”
The Story Company isn’t Endeavor Content’s first investment in British TV. In 2018, it backed the new indie from former Channel 4 head of international drama Simon Maxwell.
“We are excited for Damian, Simon and Helen to contribute their extensive experience discovering and nurturing dynamic, talented creators as they embark on launching The Story Company,” said Endeavor Content’s co-presidents Chris Rice and Graham Taylor. “This collaboration presents an ideal opportunity to develop premium scripted content from the best of British storytellers.”
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