Channel 4 invests in international drama co-productions


Channel 4 will invest in international drama co-productions as part of a new strategy, announced today by Head of Drama, Piers Wenger, that boosts Channel4’s commitment to original drama. New co-production collaborations with both international and UK partners will sit alongside Channel 4’s award-winning range of bold, original home-grown drama commissions.

Channel 4 has appointed Simon Maxwell in the newly created role of Head of International Drama, reporting to Wenger. Maxwell will be responsible for commissioning a slate of high quality, ambitious drama co-productions that embody Channel 4’s distinctive values and have international appeal.

The increased investment in original drama co-productions will complement an impressive slate of home-grown drama, the budget for which remains unchanged. 2014/15 will see original dramas from a mix of new and established British talent including Russell T Davies, Dennis Kelly, Jack Thorne, Paul Abbott, Abi Morgan, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong and DC Moore as well a single film from Channel 4’s new writing talent scheme, Coming Up.

The new co-production slate will bring international talent and their stories to Channel 4 and will also give British writers, directors and producers an international platform.

Head of Drama, Piers Wenger says; “A commitment to bold, distinctive drama is part of Channel 4’s DNA – whether that be original commissions like Babylon or Utopia, or acquired shows like Homeland or The Returned. This new additional slate of international co-productions will sit alongside both, adding breadth to our offering whilst also giving the opportunity for Channel 4 original drama to reach an international audience.” He continues; “I’m delighted that Simon is joining the team and his appointment is a significant step in ensuring that Channel 4’s distinctive values are at the heart of all of our co-productions. Simon brings with him a wealth of experience as a commissioner and filmmaker and a supreme inside track on the international market.”

Simon Maxwell adds; “Channel 4 is home to the boldest, brightest voices in British drama and I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join the channel and help evolve its drama brand onto the international stage. These are exciting times for television drama – never has the standard of storytelling been so high or the spirit of creative collaboration been so strong. It’s inspiring to see Channel 4 expanding its commitment to world-class drama. Through this new international drama slate, we want to take the best home-grown talent out into the world and bring the world to Channel 4 audiences.”

Simon’s background is as a television and film producer. He’s joining Channel 4 from Red Arrow Entertainment where, as Head of Drama & Comedy, he launched the Red Arrow Group’s UK scripted operation. Simon has specialised in developing and producing drama for the international market, working with broadcasters in the UK, continental Europe and US on projects such as Odyssey for NBC and Hannibal for the History Channel. Previously Simon was Head of Film & TV at indie Greenroom Entertainment where he ran a slate that included crime drama Rogue for DirecTV and he Executive Produced the BBC Sitcom Off the Hook and the feature film Killing Bono, for which he co-wrote the screenplay.

Notes to editors

About Channel 4 Drama

Drama on 4 continues to deliver high profile and award-winning programmes, from single films to long-running series – the forthcoming slate includes: Russell T Davies’ Cucumber, Banana and Tofu; Jack Thorne’s Glue; a return of Dennis Kelly’s Utopia; Babylon from Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong and Danny Boyle; Paul Rutman’s epic Indian Summers; Paul Abbott’s No Offence and Cut from new TV writer DC Moore. Plus a feature-length drama from the Coming Up new talent scheme for new writers and directors. Head of Drama Piers Wenger and his commissioning team source and develop material from a range of new and established drama talent and are committed to commissioning projects that have integrity, creative ambition and originality.

Channel 4 will continue to acquire content from the US and Europe – upcoming acquisitions include: new series Fargo from Joel and Ethan Cohen, The Returned, Homeland; The 100 and Brooklyn Nine Nine on E4, and new Norwegian thriller Mammon on more4.

Channel 4 is a not for profit organisation, all returns from the investment in co-productions will be used to further invest in programmes for the benefit of our audiences.

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