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October 2017
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    Hiring top talent and investing heavily in development have been key to growing his Bristol indie Plimsoll Productions, says founder Grant Mansfield
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    What ever genre you work in, you need to be lens savvy. Here three DoPs guide us through the lens market, picking out the models they like to use in drama and factual
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Production 100 2011 Back to Reports & survey Listing

11 Twofour
www.twofourbroadcast.co.uk ceo Charles Wace md Melanie Leach director of production Shireen Abbott staff 147 turnover £33m commissions 23 hrs 94 hrs tx’d 71 key shows The Hotel Inspector (C5 ) 100 Greatest Toys with Jonathan Ross (C4) Night of Heroes (ITV1)

With offices in London, Plymouth and the Middle East, Twofour is now a diversified business spanning TV, digital and technology. The TV business has bounced back from the depths of recession says md Melanie Leach, recording its “busiest ever year” in the last 12 months. Twofour’s output spans factual, comedy entertainment and features, and it also got two major AFP shows off the ground this year.

12 Left Bank

www.leftbankpictures.co.uk ceo Andy Harries md Marigo Kehoe staff 18 turnover £32m commissions 5 hrs 27.5 hrs tx’d 16.5 key shows DCI Banks - Aftermath (ITV1) Zen (BBC1) Mad Dogs (Sky)

It’s been an eventful year for Left Bank, one of the UK’s leading drama producers. It picked up a raft of commissions including a third series of BBC1’s acclaimed Wallander, a full series of DCI Banks for ITV and second series orders for Sky’s Strike Back and Mad Dogs. Left Bank’s Rufus Sewell starrer Zen ran on BBC1 to positive reviews, but was cancelled by controller Danny Cohen. And Left Bank Pictures co-founder Francis Hopkinson quit for ITV Studios to establish a new drama unit. Md Marigo Kehoe says the business climate over the last 12 months has been “tough with lots of international co-production,” but the outlook for the indie “feels much more positive than last year.”

13 Carnival/Monkey

www.carnivalfilms.co.uk Carnival md Gareth Neame Monkey md David Granger turnover £30m commissions 11 hrs 38 hrs tx’d 36.25 key shows Downton Abbey (ITV1), Any Human Heart (C4), Whitechapel (ITV1), Made in Chelsea (E4)
Drama producer Carnival and factual entertainment outfit Monkey are both owned by US studio NBC Universal, which has been steadily building its local production activities in the UK. Carnival has enjoyed a tremendous run recently, and is now in production on a second series of its acclaimed Downton Abbey for ITV1. It has also delivered Any Human Heart to C4 and a second series of Whitechapel to ITV1. Meanwhile, Monkey - acquired by NBC in November - was behind constructed reality series Made in Chelsea for E4. NBCU also this year hired leading producers Alan Brown (The Restaurant) and Hat Trick’s head of comedy Mario Stylianides to set up their own bespoke production operations.

14 Hat Trick Productions
www.hattrick.com md Jimmy Mulville commercial director Paul Cohen turnover £24.2m key shows Episodes (BBC1), Have I Got News for You? (BBC1), The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (ITV1), Dinner Date (ITV1)
Hat Trick boss Jimmy Mulville took to the stage at last year’s Edinburgh TV Festival to talk about Hat Trick’s near collapse in the mid-2000s after an investment bank bought into the Have I Got News For You? producer and the indie took on huge debts. Hat Trick is now fully independent after buying itself back in 2009, and appears to be on good form. Turnover is up from £19.6m to £24.2m this year, and it has had a busy year making shows such as Matt LeBlanc starrer Episodes (which has been recommissioned for a second series by BBC2) and drama The Suspicions of Mr Whicher for ITV. Sky has also ordered brand new comedy Spy, and Hat Trick is making a fourth series of Outnumbered.

15 Aardman Animations
www.aardman.com exec chairman David Sproxton creative dir Peter Lord director Nick Park head of broadcast Miles Bullough staff 120 turnover £23m profit £2.5m commissions 1 hrs 3 hrs tx’d 10 key shows Shaun the Sheep (BBC) Timmy Time (BBC) Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention (BBC)

Bristol animation outfit Aardman is a diversified business with 30% of its turnover coming from TV shows such as Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time. Commercials, like its latest stop frame ad for Nokia, make up another 29%, while film (such as upcoming The Pirates! and Arthur Christmas) accounts for 11%. Turnover is up to £23m from last year’s £16.7m.

16 Boomerang Plus
www.boomerang.co.uk ceo Huw Eurig Davies finance director Mark Fenwick executive director Gareth Rees staff 180 turnover £21.4m profit £535k commissions 50 hrs 659 hrs tx’d 659 key shows Arctic with Bruce Parry (BBC2) Secret Supper Club (C4) That Paralympic Show (C4)

Welsh production group Boomerang Plus has been on a steady acquistion trail in recent years, and picked up Meerkat Manor producer Oxford Scientific Films (OSF) for £500k in June. This followed the purchase of Amazon producer Indus Films in 2009. Boomerang ceo Hugh Davies said the OSF deal would “allow us to continue our diversification strategy, in terms of both geography and customer base.” Boomerang reports good business from its ad funded programming while traditional broadcasters are cutting back budgets. A programming highlight this year was C4 order Secret Supper Club.
Boomerang Plus’ indies include:
Boomerang Secret Supper Club, Freesports on 4
Indus Arctic with Bruce Parry, Ride of My Life
Oxford Scientific Films Meerkat Manor, Atom
Apollo Rasus, Con Passionate
Fflic Y Ty Cymreig, Welsh in a Week
Alfresco Plastic Surgery School, Codi Canu

17 Ten Alps

www.tenalps.com chairman Peter Bertram fd Nitil Patel staff 33 turnover £18.7m key shows Election Uncovered: What they Won’t Tell Us (C4) Storyville: The Trouble with Pirates (BBC) The Pakistan Flood Doctor (BBC)
Ten Alps houses some of the UK’s most highly regarded documentary and current affairs production companies. But it has had a turbulent few months. Chief executive Alex Connock, who founded the business in 1999 with Bob Geldof, stepped down in July with the company citing “challenging” trading conditions as a result of the economic climate and “the added complication of managing the termination of the Teachers TV contract.” In the wake of Connock’s departure, Blakeway managing director Fiona Stourton took over as creative director of Ten Alps TV. In the past year, Teachers TV has been relaunched as SchoolsWorld. Ten Alps also owns a business to business publishing division.
Ten Alps’ indies include:
Brook Lapping Dispatches: A Year Inside Number 10
Blakeway Renaissance Revolution
Films of Record Panorama: Kids in Care
Below the Radar The Pakistan Flood Doctor

18 Argonon

www.argonon.com ceo James Burstall cfo Stuart Mullin staff 47 turnover £18.2m commissions 68 hrs 1,400 hrs tx’d 1,300 key shows Filthy Rotten Scoundrels (BBC1) Freshly Squeezed (C4) Househunters International (HGTV) Trade Your Way to the USA (CBBC)

Argonon is a new name in this year’s Production 100. In May, Leopard Films and Remedy Productions teamed up, with the ambition of creating a £100m-a-year-turnover superindie group within five years. Ceo James Burstall says Argonon plans to acquire other TV indies and digital specialists in the UK and abroad, armed with funds from private equity backers. Argonon, he says, “has got two companies specifically in our sights for this autumn.” But he adds that Argonon won’t just be built on acquisition, and cites the hiring of talent such as Todd Austin and Charlie Bunce at Leopard Films. The Argonon model, says Burstall, will be one where individual companies remain distinct and creatively independent. Former Wall to Wall financial director Stuart Mullin is chief financial officer of the new group.
Argonon’s indies include:
Leopard Films Missing, The Day The Immigrants Left
Remedy Freshly Squeezed, Switch Live Awards

19 Rondo

www.rondomedia.co.uk chairman Robin Evans ceo Gareth Williams finance director Alwyn Davies staff 56 turnover £14.4m commissions 27 hrs 321 hrs tx’d 298 key shows Rownd a Rownd (S4C) The Indian Doctor (BBC1) Cor Cymru (S4C) Bristol City v. Cardiff City - FA Cup (S4C)

Welsh indie Rondo has climbed from 24th to 19th place in this year’s Production 100. Ceo Gareth Williams says its staff base has doubled in the last three years and it has invested £500k in a new production and post facility in North Wales. Highlights include winning a second series of its acclaimed BBC1 drama The Indian Doctor.

20 Nutopia

www.nutopia.com ceo Jane Root md Laura Franses head of production Helena Tait staff 7 turnover £14m commissions 6 hrs 25 hrs tx’d 25 key shows The House That Made Me (C4) America The Story of US (History Channel)

Nutopia, run by former Discovery Channel US and BBC2 boss Jane Root, has shot up the Production 100 rankings since it was launched just over two years ago. High profile factual shows such as History Channel’s America The Story of US and C4’s The House That Made Me have characterised the indie’s year, and help account for its £14m turnover for the period April 2010-March 2011. Nutopia’s rise has no doubt been aided by its influential board, which includes former Endemol head Peter Bazalgette and ex-C4 chief Michael Jackson. Like many indies, Nutopia says that the last half of 2010 was very slow in terms of business, but that it’s been much more buoyant in 2011. A big challenge going forward is “attracting and retaining key talent” as well as “managing growth and putting systems in place while still retaining a fun, creative small company environment.” The outlook for the year ahead? “Very positive, with lots of potential projects in play.”

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