Wednesday 28 September 2016

ITV buys Poldark production company

Published 01/06/2015 | 12:11

Poldark star Aidan Turner on set as ITV plc buys the show's production company Mammoth Screen
Poldark star Aidan Turner on set as ITV plc buys the show's production company Mammoth Screen

It is not just the BBC that has a stake in the success of its hit show Poldark after rival broadcaster ITV announced it has bought the production company that makes the Cornish saga.

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ITV plc has had a 25% share in Ma mmoth Screen, the company behind shows including Parade's End, since 2007 and has now bought the remaining 75%.

Mammoth Screen's managing director Damien Timmer said the move would let it make "even more ambitious drama".

He said: " We have a long history with ITV Studios, and with its support and backing we'll be able to make television for a wide range of partners both at home and abroad, whilst remaining a very British television company."

Poldark, based on the novels of Winston Graham, was originally made for TV in the 1970s when it attracted audiences of 15 million and the remake has been a ratings hit as well.

ITV announced last month that it had signed a deal with the firm to make what it called a "major new drama series" based on the early life of Queen Victoria.

The broadcaster, home to Downton Abbey and The X Factor, said the purchase of Mammoth Screen would give it greater access to a production team that has the "uncanny knack of developing hit after hit".

The move comes as ITV has bought a number of production companies in a bid to make itself less dependent on volatile advertising revenues.

Over the last two years these have included America's Gurney Productions, High Noon Entertainment and Thinkfactory Media, which have produced such programmes as Hatfields & McCoys, American Digger and Bakery Boss.

It also owns So Television, which is behind The Graham Norton Show.

Poldark, starring Aidan Turner, hit an average audience of 8.2 million when it was screened on BBC One earlier this year. It has also been recently sold to broadcasters in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada.

Mammoth Screen is also the team behind the detective drama Endeavour, which has been screened in more than 180 countries.

The production company is currently working on a second series of Poldark and a third series of Endeavour.

It is also working on a comedy drama called Tripped for E4 about two friends who come across different versions of themselves in parallel universes.

Mr Timmer will lead the business as managing director, although co-founder Michele Buck will step down as joint managing director to take up new opportunities in the industry.

The production company has had a distribution agreement with ITV Studios for the last eight years.

ITV Studios UK managing director Julian Bellamy said: "Damien and the team are one of the most impressive and sought after drama producers in Britain. From Endeavour to Poldark, they've an uncanny knack of developing hit after hit."

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