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Rainmaker Content takes a bite out of UK indie Saffron Cherry Productions

Caroline Roberts-Cherry (left) and Sally Lindsay (photo: Bernadette Delaney)

CONTENT LONDON: London-based distributor Rainmaker Content has taken a minority stake in Manchester-based multi-genre indie Saffron Cherry Productions.

The agreement, financial details of which were not disclosed, builds on Rainmaker’s existing first-look deal with the producer and marks Rainmaker’s first investment in an indie and Saffron Cherry’s first equity partnership.

Both companies are here at Content London having worked together on a slate of returning drama series, which they are now bringing to market.

These include projects such as Blurred (6×60′) by Ian Winterton, about a police officer with a disturbing talent for ‘super-recognising’ faces; The Dales Detective Agency (3×90′), based on Julia Chapman’s book series of the same name and adapted by Stewart Harcourt; and Fit For a Queen (6×60′) by Richard Easter, based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite fashion designer, Sir Norman Hartnell.

As part of the deal, Graham Begg, founder and co-CEO of Rainmaker Content, will join the board of Manchester-based Saffron Cherry, which was founded by Caroline Roberts-Cherry, Martin Riley and Sally Lindsay.

Rainmaker said its director, Debbie Manners, was “influential” in bringing the two parties together and will “continue to play an active role at the heart of the relationship between the two companies.”

The Saffron Cherry scripted slate is headed by Jane Langford, who joined the company as head of scripted in 2021, following her time as story producer at Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

The company is behind programming including six-part mystery drama The Madame Blanc Mysteries, starring Sally Lindsay, commissioned for Channel 5 and Acorn TV and coproduced with Clapperboard.

In children’s, the company’s content includes CBBC drama The Wonton Warrior and The World According to Grandpa for Channel 5’s Milkshake! strand. Factual titles include Noël Coward by Julian Clary for Sky Arts and Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant for the BBC.

Rainmaker, meanwhile, recently announced a similar strategic alliance with Finnish indie Take Two Studios, which focuses on high-end drama, documentaries and podcasts. Under the deal with the year-old indie, Rainmaker will advise on programming and strategy and be granted a first look at all Take Two output.

Greg Phillips, founder and co-CEO of Rainmaker Content, said: “In today’s challenging climate, creative companies need a mix of talent, commercial acumen and strong relationships if they are to be sustainable.

“Over the last year, it’s become clear that Rainmaker and Saffron Cherry not only have complementary skills, visions and voices, but that, working together, we can go further and achieve greater. Our investment in Saffron Cherry recognises that and signals our ambition to continue to deliver fresh and engaging shows.”

Roberts-Cherry, founder and managing director of Saffron Cherry, added: “Rainmaker’s commitment will allow Saffron Cherry to get where we want to be faster. It was important to Martin, Sally and I to partner with a company who ‘got us’ and who recognise the power of authentic storytelling. We look forward to this next exciting chapter.”

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