Banijay UK backs Tommy Bulfin and Kim Varvell start up

13 April, 2023

BBC Commissioning Editor Tommy Bulfin and Apple TV+ Drama Commissioner Kim Varvell are setting up ‘Conker Pictures’ a business focussed on making popular and distinctive scripted series for the UK and global audiences.

The highly respected duo have extensive production and commissioning experience having been behind many of the most successful dramas in recent years.

In his role at the BBC, Tommy has overseen some of the division’s biggest shows including The Tourist, Kudos’ SAS Rogue Heroes, Normal People and Peaky Blinders. Further Executive Producer credits include The Gold, Line of DutyConversations with FriendsMarriage, Beyond Paradise and Dublin Murders.

Kim joined Apple TV + in 2020 and has been responsible for developing and commissioning a raft of global dramas with recent productions including upcoming thriller Hijack starring Idris Elba, Sharon Horgan’s Bad Sisters, and Suspicion starring Uma Thurman.

Prior to this, Kim was at New Pictures where she developed and executive produced Des starring David Tennant for ITV and as Head of Development for the company oversaw a raft of developments and productions, including White House Farm for ITV, Requiem for BBC One / Netflix and The Innocents for Netflix.

With Banijay UK investment, led by CEO Patrick Holland via the recently announced UK Growth Fund, the start-up will begin hiring full time staff and investing in their development slate.

The deal includes a first look deal with distributor Banijay Rights and supports Banijay’s wider strategy to strengthen and evolve its scripted offering.

Patrick Holland, CEO of Banijay UK who led the deal said: “I couldn’t be more delighted to announce this investment in Kim and Tommy’s new company from the Banijay UK Growth Fund. As commissioning editors, they have overseen some of the most distinctive dramas in recent years.  They share wonderful instincts for talent and possess a restless energy to produce the very best shows.  And they always think of the audience. Together they make a formidable pair and, with Banijay’s support, I have every expectation that Conker Pictures will thrive and grow.”

Kim Varvell and Tommy Bulfin added; “We have been friends and colleagues for many years and it has long been our ambition to work together again. United by our mutual love of high quality, popular drama series and our shared passion for shows enjoyed by a wide audience, we are absolutely thrilled to find a home with Banijay UK, who have a rich history of delivering hit shows, beloved by viewers worldwide. We have had the good fortune to work with some of the brightest and best talent in the UK over the past few years and are excited to build on these strong relationships in our new home at Conker Pictures. We are delighted to be doing this with Patrick and the entire Banijay team.”