ITV Studios has acquired a majority stake in Australian scripted production company, Lingo Pictures.

Led by producers Helen Bowden and Jason Stephens, Lingo Pictures will be ITV Studios’ first Australian scripted label.

Bowden and Stephens will continue to head up the business based in Sydney. As part of the wider ITV Studios Group, Lingo will sit under the international production arm led by Managing Director, Lisa Perrin.

Lingo’s recent productions include a second season of The Secrets She Keeps for Paramount+, BBC One and Sundance/AMC. The first outing was BBC iPlayer’s fifth most watched drama of 2020. The company has also just completed production on the second season of the Foxtel Australia and Sky Original series, Upright, starring Tim Minchin and Milly Alcock (House of the Dragon).

Further projects include the upcoming Queen of Oz, a comedy starring and co-written by Catherine Tate, commissioned directly by BBC One in the UK; The Messenger, based on the best-selling novel by Markus Zusak, for Australia’s ABC; and Prosper for Australian streaming service Stan and Lionsgate. ITV Studios will handle the international distribution for all new Lingo Pictures series.

Lisa Perrin said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Helen and Jason whose partnership has become one of the most admired in the Australian and international scripted space. Their talent for producing high quality scripted content is clear and they are well positioned to take even more advantage of the unprecedented demand for English language drama as part of our global network of production companies.”

Bowden and Stephens added: “What a privilege it is to join the international powerhouse ITV Studios at a time when Australian stories are exploding around the world. We are so excited to be sitting alongside the other illustrious ITV Studios labels and can’t wait to get started!”

Lingo Pictures previous productions include the multi award-winning gothic drama Lambs Of God (2019), winner of nine AACTA (Australian Academy) Awards, On The Ropes (2018), and Wake In Fright (2017), a thriller based on Kenneth Cook’s 1961 novel of the same name.

Prior to forming Lingo, Bowden was a founder and Managing Director of Matchbox Pictures, which sold to NBC Universal in 2014, while Stephens spent ten years as Head of Development and then Creative Director at Fremantle Australia.

Lingo Pictures joins ITV Studios other scripted labels including Ben Stephenson’s Poison Pen Studios, Nicola Shindler’s Quay Street Productions, Dominic Treadwell Collins’ Happy Prince; Patrick Spence and David P.Davis’ 5Acts; Cattleya Producciones; Windlight Pictures; Tomorrow Studios and Bedrock Entertainment.

Picture: ©Keith Saunders

Jon Creamer

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