BBC Worldwide has taken a 20 per cent stake in Various Artists (VAL), a UK scripted indie focusing on comedy, comedy-drama and drama.
Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, writers behind such hits as Peep Show, Fresh Meat and Ill Behaviour, have joined forces with former Channel 4 commissioners Phil Clarke and Roberto Troni to launch the indie.
Jonathan Blyth, commercial director, comedy, BBC Worldwide said: “As investment and partnership decisions go, this was one of the easiest! Phil and Roberto’s flawless track records in comedy and drama, coupled with the opportunity of a first look over television projects created by Sam and Jesse makes this a particularly exciting creative and commercial opportunity for BBC Worldwide.”
The VAL team is understandably already very well connected with key commissioners globally, and is looking to capitalise on the growing demand for comedy and the burgeoning comedy/drama crossover genre.
Clarke, who will serve as managing director of the indie, added: “We are delighted to have BBC Worldwide as our backer. They are incredibly supportive, understand the realities of producing scripted television and the editorial strategies and timescales required, as well as the commercial challenges of running a new production company. For us, they’re the perfect fit.”
Armstrong and Bain said: “We’ve worked extremely closely with Phil and Roberto over the last 15 years on Peep Show, Fresh Meat and Babylon and we’re thrilled about the prospect of new shared endeavours.
"We’re excited to have the backing of BBC Worldwide who have a great track record in backing both comedy and drama.
"What’s more, as their name suggests, they have access to the whole wide world. They’ve figured out how wide the world is, and it doesn’t faze them. It’s impressive to say the least.”