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Newen, Neal launch UK prodco

French production and distribution group Newen is launching a UK production company with a former Channel 4 head of drama.

Gub Neal

Ringside Studios is being launched by the TF1-owned group alongside renowned UK producer Gub Neal, who was drama head at C4 from 1999 to 2001, and UK-based TV packaging company DoveTale Media.

The new venture will be majority owned by Newen, with both Neal and DoveTale holding minority stakes in the business.

Neal is best known for award-winning and critically acclaimed dramas including The Fall and The Last Enemy. The Fall was adapted for French commercial broadcaster TF1 as Insoupçonnable by local prodco Léonis.

As controller of drama at Granada TV and head of drama at C4, he produced and commissioned series including Cracker and Queer as Folk. He also won a Primetime Emmy for Prime Suspect. More recently he set up London-based prodco Artists Studio with Justin Thomson and Patrick Irwin and backing from Endemol Shine, but the company was shuttered last year.

Edward Barlow, former development producer at Artists Studio, is joining the new venture as commercial and artistic manager and will work with creative director Neal to develop English and international dramas, which may be distributed by Newen.

Announcing the launch today, Newen said the new company would aim to attract and hire new talent such as authors, showrunners and producers in the United Kingdom.

Ringside Studios already has several projects under advanced development within Newen, including international coproductions such as an adaptation of children’s fantasy novels Oksa Pollock, coproduced with Jean-Benoit Gillig (Léonis).

Newen MD Romain Bessi said: “With the creation of Ringside Studios, Newen continues to develop its strong international presence. The highly regarded British fiction market is an important part of our growth strategy and it is essential that we develop a presence there.

“With Gub Neal, we have the opportunity to work with a talented producer who already has strong creative ties with Newen, while offering other English-speaking talents the opportunity to join our ambitious creative ecosystem.”

Neal added: “Never has there been a more exciting or timely opportunity to join forces with leading European media hub Newen and work with Newen’s teams in building a new drama powerhouse in London. The ability to attract top English talent with such strong European backing is a wonderful prospect, and a truly rewarding venture that I am thrilled to be part of.”

DoveTale was formed in 2018 by Revolution Films founder Andrew Eaton, who produced Netflix’s The Crown, and The Fall exec producers Justin Thomson, Tracey Scoffield and David Tanner from Rainmark Films. The company packages high-profile TV projects and provides exec producer serves to third-party producers and broadcasters.

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