The Big Brother maker’s UK arm has taken a majority stake in The Forge, its first since Chloe producer Mam Tor almost exactly a year ago. The deal includes a first-look agreement with distributor Banijay Rights. The Forge previously had a similar deal in place with All3Media International but it ran down several years ago.
The Forge was founded by former BBC commissioner George Faber a decade ago and counts vet UK drama execs such as Beth Willis, Mark Pybus and George Ormond amongst its senior creative team.
The company has collaborated with the likes of Jack Thorne, Ben Wheatley and Peter Moffat, with past credits including Thorne’s Channel 4 BAFTA-winner Help, Starz’ Becoming Elizabeth and BBC drama Collateral starring Carey Mulligan. It has big streamer shows coming up including Apple TV+ drama The Buccaneers, which launches in a week, and Stephen Butchard’s Disney+ series Shardlake, along with Wheatley’s Generation Z for Channel 4.
Banijay UK CEO Patrick Holland said he has been a “massive admirer of The Forge since its inception.”
“With a commitment to the most distinctive authorship, a desire to make shows of the highest quality and a creative commitment to make drama that appeals to broad audiences, The Forge is an extraordinary group of talented producers,” he added.
Faber said Banijay’s “culture and values feel like a great fit,” adding: “We’re ambitious for the next stage of our growth and believe that Banijay’s superb distribution arm, production expertise, management team and global reach will help us chart an exciting path to the future.”
Banijay’s UK scripted roster is now made up of 11 companies including Broadchurch maker Kudos and The Rig indie Wild Mercury. It has made several recent minority investments via its £50M ($60.6M) Indie Growth Fund including in James Norton and Kitty Kaletsky’s Rabbit Track, and Kim Varvell and Tommy Bulfin’s Conker Pictures.
The Forge was advised by Tom Manwaring at Helion Partners.