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BBC Studios takes full ownership of Kilgarriff & Holleworth’s Firebird Pictures

Craig Holleworth and Elizabeth Kilgarriff

BBC Studios (BBCS) has increased its investment in Firebird Pictures to take full ownership of the scripted company, which was set up by Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth.

The deal adds Firebird to the BBC commercial arm’s portfolio of majority-owned labels alongside Lookout Point, Baby Cow Productions, House Productions, Clerkenwell Films and Sid Gentle Films.

It comes after BBCS took a minority stake in Firebird following its launch in 2019 by former BBC executives Kilgarriff and Holleworth.

Firebird has recently had two series greenlit, including Wilderness, a six-part series for Amazon’s Prime Video. Written by Marnie Dickens and based on BE Jones’ novel, it stars Jenna Coleman and Oliver Jackson-Cohen and is currently shooting in Canada and the US.

The other is an adaptation of Nikki May’s debut novel, Wahala, written by Theresa Ikoko for BBC One, which is due to shoot in the UK next year.

Firebird has multiple other projects in development with many of the major UK and US platforms, with more greenlights due to be announced later this year, according to BBCS.

In August, BBCS took a 25% stake in Mothership Productions, the fledgling factual indie set up by former Channel 4 deputy director of programmes Kelly Webb-Lamb.

BBCS’s other minority-owned indie investments include Moonage, Various Artists Limited, Expectation Entertainment, Curve Media and Boffola Pictures, the latter via Lookout Point.

BBCS also represents hundreds of other independent production companies through first-look and distribution deals.

Mark Linsey, MD for scripted at BBCS said: “Since it launched three years ago, Firebird has been firing on all cylinders, attracting top and emerging talent and building an exciting slate with international appeal. With two major series now greenlit and a number of shows in development, we’re excited to bring Liz and Craig into the BBC Studios family and support them in this next phase of their journey.”

Kilgarriff and Holleworth said in a joint statement: “From the very beginning of Firebird’s journey with just a blank piece of paper and an empty office with one chair, BBC Studios have supported and backed us every step of the way, fully trusting in our vision and ambition and helping build the company to where we are today. We are delighted to now be cementing our relationship and are excited for Firebird’s future as we grow the company together. “


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