Fremantle Acquires Majority Stake in Dancing Ledge Productions

Fremantle has increased its stake in Dancing Ledge Productions, to become the majority shareholder of the UK based indie behind BBC ratings hits The Responder and The Salisbury Poisonings. The deal further underlines Fremantle’s strategic plan to invest and grow in premium production companies and creative talents from around the world.

Founded by CEO Laurence Bowen in 2016, with backing from Fremantle, Dancing Ledge Productions has grown rapidly, with Chris Carey joining as Managing Director and Executive Producer in March 2020. The production outfit has produced a string of recent high profile BBC One dramas including Martin Freeman-starring The Responder, set to become one of Europe’s top dramas of the year, The Salisbury Poisonings, telling the true story of the Novichok poisonings and now sold in more than 100 territories, and the upcoming thriller event series, Crossfire, starring BAFTA-nominated Keeley Hawes.

Also in production is the Disney+ Star UK romantic comedy action thriller series Wedding Season, penned by Oliver Lyttelton, while supernatural six parter Domino Day is due for BBC Three next year.

The company has secured a second series commission from BBC One for The Responder which is due to go into production later this year.

Dancing Ledge is also a core supporter of the scripted indie sector, running the High-End TV Mentoring Programme with ScreenSkills and ITV, a Directors Mentoring Scheme with BBC TV, and offering an annual TV Writer in Residence bursary.

Carmel Burke, previously Finance Director at Dancing Ledge, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, and will work alongside Laurence and Chris to support the company’s continued growth. Carmel joined the company in 2020, having previously held senior finance roles at BBC Studios, Sony, and Banijay and in the last 18 months has been a key part of the management team helping to steer the company’s growth strategy.

Laurence Bowen, CEO, and founder of Dancing Ledge said: “Chris and I are thrilled at the way Dancing Ledge has grown over the last few years nurturing, championing and then producing work by the most exciting new voices in Britain. Authorship and authenticity are at the heart of what we do, and we wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the unwavering support of Fremantle from day one. Expanding our relationship with Fremantle will allow us to continue to work with the amazing development, production and finance teams we have. We’re very excited about the future.”

Simon Andreae, UK CEO at Fremantle, added: “Laurence, Chris, and their team have built a fantastic business, driven by an infectious passion, energy, and commitment to their teams, their writers, their actors, and their shows.  It’s reflected in their entire portfolio and we are delighted to welcome them as an even closer part of the family as they continue to grow and flourish.”

Jennifer Mullin, Group CEO, Fremantle, said: “Fremantle is proud to invest and work with the very best creative minds in the business. Dancing Ledge are exceptional talents, all of whom take enormous pride in their work, which in turn inspires and entertains millions of people.  We are thrilled to expand our partnership with them.”

This is the latest investment for Fremantle following acquisitions over the past year which include acquiring 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (Devils, Leonardo), international development and production company Fabel (Bosch), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (Parental Guidance, Finding Magic Mike) and UK unscripted production company Label1 (Hospital, Five Guys a Week, Soldier).