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BBCWW extends Lookout deal

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) has agreed a deal that could see it take full control of Ripper Street prodco Lookout Point after extending its investment in the UK producer.

BBC and Amazon drama Ripper Street

BBC and Amazon drama Ripper Street

BBCWW acquired 35% of the War & Peace producer in 2014, marking the return of the UK pubcaster’s commercial arm to investing in indies, and it has now extended that stake to 49%.

As part of the agreement, BBCWW will also have the opportunity to buy the prodco outright in the future.

BBCWW, which agreed its first look deal with the prodco in 2010, entered an extended five-year distribution and coproduction agreement with the producer when it made its first investment two years ago. Since then Lookout has appointed former BBC Wales drama chief Faith Penhale as its joint CEO.

Simon Vaughan set the company up to coproduce and finance international drama projects in 2009 having left transatlantic production outfit Alchemy, where he was partner and founder, as it wound down its UK arm.

It’s behind Amazon drama The Collection as well as the BBC’s War and Peace, in addition to shows including Ripper Street and Parade’s End.

Vaughan, chairman and joint CEO of Lookout Point, said the arrangement would give his company “further stability and commitment to progress our growth plans, whilst allowing us to retain our independence and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Helen Jackson, BBCWW’s chief content officer, added: “The drama genre now accounts for around half our investment and half our sales, and our appetite for high end scripted British content shows no sign of diminishing.

“Lookout Point has been part of the BBC Worldwide family for over five years now, and with its increasing focus on its own production capability, this is a logical progression of the close partnership we first forged in 2010.”

BBCWW has previously taken stakes in UK prodcos including Big Talk Productions, Left Bank Pictures and former Top Gear producer Bedder 6, as well as King Bert Productions.

It upped its stake in UK comedy producer Baby Cow Productions earlier this year and expanded its interests in Africa by investing in Rapid Blue, the South Africa-based production company that’s behind a local version of culinary format Bake Off.



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