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Banijay brings UK scripted indie stable to 11 by acquiring Help prodco The Forge

Jodie Comer in The Forge’s Covid drama Help

European production and distribution group Banijay has acquired UK-based independent scripted producer The Forge.

The producer of Marriage, Help and Becoming Elizabeth joins the Banijay UK stable of companies with immediate effect. Financial terms were not disclosed.

It brings the number of scripted labels under the Banijay UK umbrella to 11, including wholly owned Kudos, Tiger Aspect and Wild Mercury. The new deal gives distribution arm Banijay Rights a first look at projects from The Forge.

The Forge’s senior creative team is made up of founder and MD George Faber, exec producer and head of business affairs Mark Pybus and exec producers Beth Willis and George Ormond.

Faber, having run single drama at the BBC for several years, co-founded Company Pictures, producing the likes of Shameless, Wild at Heart and Skins before setting up The Forge.

Pybus, also previously at Company Pictures, has a background in business affairs and has produced a raft of shows including Wolf Hall for the BBC.

Marriage stars Sean Bean and Nicola Walker

In her role as head of drama at Channel 4, Willis commissioned The End of the F***ing World, Humans and No Offence before joining The Forge while Ormond was previously an exec producer at the BBC.

The Forge’s current projects include The Buccaneers for Apple TV+, due to launch globally on November 8; four-part Disney+ series Shardlake by Stephen Butchard (The Last Kingdom), due to be released next year; and a factual drama about the Grenfell Tower fire disaster by Peter Kosminsky (Undeclared War, Government Inspector, Wolf Hall) for BBC One.

Patrick Holland, CEO of Banijay UK, said: “I have been a massive admirer of The Forge since its inception. Faber, Mark Pybus, Beth Willis and George Ormond have together grown one of the most ambitious and exciting drama slates in the UK.

“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.”

Faber added: “We’re ambitious for the next stage of our growth and we believe that Banijay’s superb distribution arm, production expertise, management team and global reach will help us chart an exciting path to the future.”

The Forge’s credits include National Treasure (Channel 4), Ackley Bridge (C4), The Miniaturist (BBC), Kiri (C4), Help (C4), Marriage (BBC), Becoming Elizabeth (Starz), Collateral (BBC), Rules of the Game (BBC) and Roadkill (BBC).

It has collaborated with writers Jack Thorne, Anya Reiss, Stefan Golaszewski, Katherine Jakeways, Ayub Khan Din, Ben Wheatley, David Hare, Peter Moffat, Levi David Addai, Janice Okoh and Stephen Butchard amongst others.

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