ITV Studios & Plimsoll Bosses Say British Producers “Welcome In America” Despite Commissioning Slowdown

Category News
News Provider

“Most British producers will find themselves very welcome in America.”

That is the verdict of Grant Mansfield, the head of A Real Bug’s Life and Tiny World producer Plimsoll, who, along with ITV Studios boss Julian Bellamy, attempted to paint a glass-half-full portrait of the state of the UK production industry amid doom and gloom proclamations at the Creative Cities Convention.

Mansfield said he “understands the negative mood music” but posited that “the transformational thing [for UK producers] is international,” as he revealed that 90% of Plimsoll’s commissions come from outside the UK.

“The whole business of what your market is has become more porous and most British producers wil find themselves very welcome in America,” said Mansfield. “They are incredibly respectful and knowledgeable of the UK market.”

Mansfield joked that producers should be aware of American buyers’ “there is no such thing as a bad meeting” approach to pitches. “Most of them will be nice to you then never speak to you again,” he said, tongue in cheek.

Plimsoll’s Disney+/Nat Geo series A Real Bug’s Life was recently recommissioned and Mansfield said it is Disney’s best-performing natural history show. The Bristol indie is also making a celebrity shark series for ITV and a U.S. adaptation is in the works.

Mansfield was speaking alongside ITV Studios boss Bellamy, coming two years after ITV acquired a majority stake in Plimsoll for £103.5M ($128.7M).

“Grounds for optimism” for the UK industry, according to Bellamy, include the cost of TV drama coming down from the dizzying heights of £15M to £20M per episode during the streaming boom.

“That plays well into the UK wheelhouse as producers,” said Bellamy, who talked up British producers’ penchant for keeping costs down.

Netflix’s Fool Me Once, which recently entered the streamer’s top-10 most watched English language shows of all time and was produced by ITV Studios’ label Quay Street, was “made for a lot less than £15M per hour,” according to Bellamy.

Bellamy and Mansfield were speaking at the Creative Cities Convention along with the likes of Netflix UK boss Anne Mensah, Channel 4’s Alex Mahon and the cast of The Outlaws.