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Workerbee signs first-look deal with Made in Manchester as UK expansion continues

Banijay-owned unscripted specialist Workerbee has signed a first-look coproduction deal with fellow UK prodco Made in Manchester (MIM).

Rick Murray

The pact combines the creative efforts of Workerbee’s factual film division with MIM’s documentary making experience to develop content for TV and radio.

It comes after Workerbee revealed a strategy late last year to expand its presence in the north of England and Wales through acquisitions, investments and creatively focused partnerships.

The Manchester-based company wants to create an “entrepreneurial and creative hub” by investing in fast-growing indie prodcos and branching out into new genres.

Formed in 2005 by Ashley Byrne and James Hickman, MIM has produced documentaries, drama, comedy, podcasts and panel shows, primarily for radio stations.

Workerbee produces factual series and formats including Janet for Lifetime and A&E, The Bridge for Channel 4 and HBO Max, Peter Crouch: Save Our Beautiful Game for Discovery and Idris Elba’s Fight School for BBC Two.

The label’s plans dovetail with Banijay UK’s strategy to pursue regional expansion across the country. Banijay UK, led by executive chair and CEO Patrick Holland, also backs Dragonfly North and Kudos North, in addition to IWC and The Comedy Unit in Scotland, and RDF West in Bristol and Wales.

“MIM has a treasure trove of award-winning content that would work brilliantly on television,” said Rick Murray, CEO of Workerbee. “This partnership expands our premium factual offering and marks the first in a small number of creative partnerships we are planning.”

“Our combined efforts will lead to the production of even more popular and award-winning programmes,” said Byrne, creative director of MIM.

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