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Passion Distribution

Programming Profile

Passion Distribution unveils exciting Spring slate

The UK’s Passion Distribution is offering buyers a broad slate of programming through a bespoke company screening on C21 Digital Screenings, ranging from political documentaries to light-hearted fare, reports Inigo Alexander.


If there is one word to describe Passion Distribution’s programming slate, it would be ‘depth.’ The Tinopolis-owned UK-based distributor is running a C21 Digital Company Screening of titles fitting of the contemporary – and temporarily confined – world we live in, catering to audiences’ diverse and varying tastes..


Passion’s slate, which was put together prior to the global coronavirus pandemic and was originally intended to be presented to buyers at MipTV, includes 12 titles that are featured on the company’s C21 Screenings playlist. They span a number of genres, from hard-hitting political documentaries, to light-hearted appointment viewing.


As a result of the cancellation and postponement of a swathe of industry markets, Passion will also be presenting its slate to buyers digitally via its own online Passion Distribution Pop-Up Market.


Nick Tanner, Passion Distribution

“Passion has long been known as a representative and supporter of really high-quality, differentiated non-scripted programming. We’ve been known to be quite fearless about bringing hidden worlds and extraordinary human experiences to the screen and tackling difficult subject matter,” says Nick Tanner, the company’s director of sales and coproductions.


“We’ve always been unafraid to really get behind challenging but always entertaining programming. That’s probably our overall objective – to entertain and be provocative and thought-provoking, but always with a broadness of appeal.”


Tanner explains that Passion chose to focus on six key genres to build its slate around, namely entertainment, factual entertainment, single documentaries and specials, documentary series, lifestyle programming and crime.


“Our policy, and in fact our strength, is about having real depth in those six genres. It’s not about breadth; we’re not trying to do everything, we’re trying to be very focused and have great depth in a number of genres. That’s why we have a very particular and differentiated entertainment offering,” Tanner says.

Dynamo: Beyond Belief


Headlining Passion’s slate is the three-part magic special Dynamo: Beyond Belief (3×60’), which Tanner claims “flips expectations of what magic can do on television.” The series follows the British magician’s road to recovery after the career-threatening onslaught of chronic arthritis and sees him travel from Tokyo to Mexico as he performs his tricks and illusions.


The series is produced by Motion Content Group, Phil McIntyre Entertainments and Inner Circle Films for Sky One in the UK and has already been sold to TV18 in India and other broadcasters in Asia and Europe.


RuPaul’s Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race

The 12th season of popular reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race (14×90’) also holds a cherished spot on the Passion slate. Tanner believes the series is capable of providing some much-needed relief, through the show’s key motto of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.


“Drag Race has such a joie de vivre about it. It is about inclusion and celebrating who we are as individuals. There’s never been a better time to celebrate who we are and Drag Race is perfect for that,” he says.


The latest instalment in the search for America’s next drag superstar features celebrity guest stars including Nicki Minaj, Whoopi Goldberg and Jeff Goldblum and is produced by World of Wonder for VH1.

#Trump: How Social Media Changed the Presidency


Buyers will also be presented with Passion’s original standalone documentary #Trump: How Social Media Changed the Presidency (1×60’). Tanner recognises the sense of urgency surrounding the title given the upcoming US elections. “2020 is set to be a massive year in US politics and in society as a whole and we anticipate a demand for programming around the phenomenon that is Trump,” says Tanner.


Tanner outlines that the doc tells “Trump’s story as a president, as a communicator and as a media personality by telling the story through the prism of how he communicates on Twitter.” The title is produced by Passion alongside Pioneer Productions and has already been picked up by NTV in Germany, Sweden’s SVT and Network 10 in Australia.


The Great British Urine Test
The Great British Urine Test

Another title on the slate is, quite literally, taking the piss. Feature-length documentary The Great British Urine Test (1×90’) is a nationwide health assessment of the UK carried out by analysing peoples’ urine. Tanner describes the title as “very noisy, provocative and yet informative” documentary that will encourage appointment viewing.


“This show has a slight ‘yuck’ factor, but also a really compelling water-cooler idea at its heart, that by looking at people’s urine, you can get into all sorts of health issues, whether it be diabetes, obesity, drink or drugs – you can even get into pollution. So in this show, we’re travelling around the UK meeting people and performing a health check for the nation by analysing people’s wee.”


The Great British Urine Test is produced by Tinopolis-owned Firecracker Films for Channel 5 in the UK.


Frontline Police 24/7
Frontline Police 24/7

Crime+Investigation docuseries Frontline Police 24/7 (12×60’) is also among Passion’s line-up. The series showcases the real dramatic stories of what police officers have to face every day around the world. Using footage from bodycams, helicopters and CCTV, the series gives a unique first-hand perspective of the dangers they face and the tactics they deploy to keep order. The series is produced by Workerbee for the UK’s Channel 5.


Passion has also opted to include a number of more light-hearted titles on its slate in order to allow viewers to decompress and seek some respite from the turbulent times we’re currently facing. “In these very uncertain times, escapism is going to be very important for the welfare of the nation,” Tanner believes.

How to Deep Clean Your House
How to Deep Clean Your House


One show aimed at providing some light relief is standalone documentary How to Deep Clean Your House (1×60’). The special, hosted by Aggie Mackenzie, analyses just how clean everyday homes really are. The title is supported by a team of scientists and packed with useful cleaning methods and tips to keep your house free of bacteria – timely advice in our fight to keep the Covid-19 virus out of our households.


The documentary is produced by Mentorn Media for Channel 5 and Tanner believes it is a reflection of “Mentorn and Tinopolis responding to broadcasters’ needs and also to audiences’ needs all around the world.”


Additional light relief includes Back2Back Productions’ Seven Network eight-part series Outrageous Weddings (8×60’), made up of a “collection of hilarious and often shocking wedding video outtakes,” Tanner says, as well as two Channel 5 titles from Middlechild Productions: Help! My Pet Hates Me (1×60’) and Fare Dodgers: At War With The Law (4×60’).

Britain's Loudest Snorer
Britain’s Loudest Snorer


Capping off Passion’s slate are ITN’s travel documentary The World’s Most Expensive Cruise Xmas (1×60’), season eight of Mentorn Media’s All New Traffic Cops (12×60’) and Britain’s Loudest Snorer (1×60’/1×90’), all for Channel 5.


Tanner is confident the slate can serve to entertain viewers across the board and will allow the distributor to set itself aside from others. “Each of these titles has something that is very distinctive that you’re not going to find somewhere else,” he says.


Given that broadcasters around the globe have had to rip up their programming schedules as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the exec believes Passion’s content can help fill the gaps the virus has created.


“We worked really hard to try to identify those opportunities and best served our client base, and then onwards to their audience. Passion is well known as a non-scripted supplier and therefore our relationships with our intel is geared around filling these particular slots. With or without coronavirus, there is always a demand for easygoing lifestyle television, as much as there is for provocative factual entertainment.”


Despite the impact the Covid-19 crisis is having on the global industry, the distributor is working to ensure its content can still be accessible to buyers and reach screens worldwide.


“At Passion, we are a proactive and nimble organisation that is ready to adapt and change to the situation that we find ourselves in,” says Tanner. “We’re launching our online campaign to reach our broadcast and network partners around the world. Without MipTV, without any other market for the rest of this year, or at least over the course of the summer, and our inability to be in rooms together meeting face to face, we’re launching our Pop-Up Market.


“It is a way to bring together all of our assets, all of our screening materials, all the information about our shows, plus a much higher degree of connectivity all in one place. So we can hopefully, in a streamlined approach, chat with our clients efficiently and yet still provide a really high level of personalised service.”


Buyers can screen trailers for Passion’s C21 Screenings playlist on this page, while the company’s digital market is accessible via the Passion Distribution website and will allow buyers and industry execs to further delve into the company’s titles.