STV Productions has acquired a minority equity stake in drama producer Two Cities Television, the company behind critically acclaimed Patrick Melrose, commissioned by Sky Atlantic and CBS Showtime and starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
This partnership will further enhance STV’s reputation as a leading producer of drama whilst providing Two Cities with creative and financial support as the business grows in scale in the UK and internationally. Both companies are also strongly positioned to address the growing market for drama production from the Nations and Regions, with STV Productions based in Scotland and London, and Two Cities based in Northern Ireland and London. Through the deal STV will have the opportunity to increase its initial 25% stake to a majority interest over the next three years.
Founded in 2016, Two Cities is led by Michael Jackson, formerly Controller of BBC One and BBC Two, CEO of Channel 4, President of Programming at USA Entertainment and Chairman of Universal Television, and Creative Director Stephen Wright, formerly Head of Drama for BBC Northern Ireland where was executive producer of Line of Duty and The Fall and commissioned Bodyguard.
With a strong development slate, Two Cities is currently developing a series based on Michael Wolff’s Donald Trump epic Fire and Fury in partnership with Topic Studios and a drama for the BBC based on David Burke’s book, The Spy Who Came In From The Co-Op: Melita Norwood and the Ending of Cold War Espionage, alongside a range of other returnable series and high profile international events.
The track record of STV Productions in-house drama team, led by Creative Director of Drama, Sarah Brown, has been significantly enhanced by recent successes including critically acclaimed TV film Elizabeth is Missing (BBC One), starring Glenda Jackson who made her return to television after 27 years. Earlier this year, four-part legal thriller, The Victim, (BBC One), starring Kelly Macdonald, broke all-time consolidated ratings records. STV Productions also has an exclusive partnership in place with celebrated drama producer Elaine Collins (Vera, ITV and Shetland, BBC One).
BBC Studios, an original investor in Two Cities Television, is exiting as part of the transaction.
Two Cities Television were advised by Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners in securing the new partnership with STV Productions.
Simon Pitts, Chief Executive, STV Group plc, said: “This exciting new partnership builds on STV’s growing reputation in high end drama following recent successes The Victim and Elizabeth is Missing. Our Two Cities investment will accelerate our growth plan to create a world class, nations-based production business.”
David Mortimer, Managing Director, STV Productions, said: “We’re thrilled to start the New Year in partnership with Two Cities and excited to be working with two of the best-known executives in television in Michael and Stephen. Between them they have produced and commissioned some of the most successful serial dramas of recent years. In addition to their significant track records of success, both share our ambition to pursue bold growth plans and build successful, internationally focused production businesses.
“Two Cities has an exciting development pipeline and our respective businesses are uniquely positioned to serve the growing demand for Nations production in the UK, with potential to extend this internationally.”
Michael Jackson, Executive Chairman, Two Cities Television, and Stephen Wright, Creative Director, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Simon Pitts, David Mortimer and his team at STV Productions, a business that feels totally in tune with our own, and one that can very much help accelerate our growth strategy, focusing on Nations drama production.”
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