Banijay Rights, the leading distribution arm of Banijay Group, has signed a first look development deal with Ellie Wood of UK independent production company, Clearwood Films. The agreement will see the partnership working together to develop and produce TV series for the UK and international markets.
This new development relationship reinforces the international success of Banijay Rights’ existing high-profile coproduction partnerships, including the recently announced first-look agreement with UK indie, Greenacre Films.
Clearwood Films was founded by Ellie Wood, who has worked on award-winning dramas such as Bleak House, The Line of Beauty and Decline and Fall.
Ellie Wood said, “’I am very excited to be working with the team at Banijay Rights. The company’s experience and global presence will be hugely beneficial in putting us and our forthcoming shows in front of the key international players.”
Caroline Torrance, Head of Scripted, Banijay Rights added, “This new partnership further bolsters Banijay’s commitment and expertise in Scripted programming, and capitalises on the continued growth we are witnessing in the drama market. Clearwood Films acts as the perfect partner for Banijay Rights and we can’t wait to get to work with Ellie to further diversify and expand our Scripted offering.”
The first production to emerge from this deal will be Stonehouse, based on an idea by John Preston. Preston is the author of the highly-acclaimed novel, ‘A Very English Scandal’, upon which the recent multi award-winning, three part television mini-series was based.
Politician John Stonehouse faked his death on the 20th November 1974, leaving a pile of clothes on a beach in Miami. It was presumed he had gone swimming and drowned, or possibly been killed by a shark. Despite the lack of a body being found, obituaries were published. But Stonehouse was in fact en route to Australia to set up a new life with his mistress and secretary, Sheila Buckley.
John Preston said: “I’ve always been fascinated by the Stonehouse story. It’s every bit as bizarre as the Jeremy Thorpe affair and similarly tells the tale of an extraordinary character whose misadventures threatened to bring down the government.”
Preston will co-write the drama which is currently in development. Wood is also producing a feature film adaptation of Preston’s acclaimed novel, The Dig, the true story of the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure, set to go into production this summer starring Nicole Kidman and Ralph Fiennes.