EXCLUSIVE: StudioCanal has confirmed that it is back in the UK acquisitions game by taking a “significant” stake in a production outfit founded by The Last Kingdom producer Phil Temple.
The French production group has acquired an undisclosed holding in Birdie Pictures, which was established by former Kudos executive producer Temple in late 2022.
Birdie Pictures is already developing the Sunday Times bestseller, The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, into a television series.
Janice Hallett’s book centers on true-crime writer Amanda Bailey’s quest to interview a teenager who was deemed to be the anti-Christ when she was a baby by a dangerous cult, known as the Alperton Angels.
Temple’s most recent project for Kudos was This Town, the BBC1 ska music drama created by Steven Knight and starring Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery.
His previous credits include Sky comedy-drama Code 404, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, and The Last Kingdom, the Netflix Viking drama.
Temple, who will serve as Birdie’s CEO, said: “Birdie will be a home where writers feel listened to, empowered and supported. We will make quality drama and comedy that audiences will fall in love with, and we also want to have fun doing it.”
Francoise Guyonnet, StudioCanal’s Executive Managing Director of TV Series, said: “Phil has worked with all the UK broadcasters throughout his rich career and has excellent relationships with writers and talent. Phil shares StudioCanal’s global ambition for projects and we know he is going to bring a strong line-up of relatable English language programming to StudioCanal.”
Deadline revealed in January that StudioCanal had returned to the investment trail after it backed Strong Film & Television, co-founded by BAFTA-winning Vigil director James Strong and Matt Tombs, a former BBC and Paramount executive.
The Birdie and Strong investments are StudioCanal’s first notable television deals in the UK for years. In 2016, the Canal+ Group company took stakes in Urban Myth Films, producer of Fox’s War of the Worlds, and SunnyMarch, co-founded by Benedict Cumberbatch.
StudioCanal has not been inactive in the acquisitions space but has focused on cementing its positions in existing partners, taking full control of Urban Myth and Tandem Productions in the past three years.
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