Bristol’s Love Productions, firm behind The Great British Bake-off, strikes multi-million Sky deal

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Written by:   | Posted 22-July-2014 9:17

When it comes to creating water cooler TV it seems that one Bristol firm has got the market cornered.

Television company Love Productions, which has half of its operations based in Bristol, specialises in making the kind of programmes which get people chatting across the country.

Recent efforts have included Benefits Street, which not only caught the viewing public’s attention but also made front page news, along with everyone’s favourite cookery show The Great British Bake-off.

The huge success of the firm has made waves in the industry which resulted this week in a multi-million deal being struck with Sky.

The broadcaster has bought 70 per cent of the firm with the aim of selling its programmes and ideas across the world.

Love Productions was also behind the Great British Sewing Bee as well as documentaries such as My Last Summer, which focussed on the affect of terminal illness, and Famous Rich and Homeless.

The firm was set up a decade ago and from the outset has always aimed to be provocative and to make programmes which stand out from the competition.

The deal means that the firm, which has its Bristol HQ in Cotham Hill, will be run by the existing management but with the financial muscle and industry influence of Sky behind it.

None of the financial details of the deal have been made public but Sky now owns 70 per cent of the company and the plan is to expand its international business, which will include production and distribution.

Despite being signed up by Sky, Love Productions will carry on making programmes for all the other broadcasters in the UK.

The founders of the firm, Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie, will also continue to run the business with its current management team.

Sophie Turner Laing, the head of content at Sky, said: “Love is one of the UK’s most innovative and creative independent producers with a track record of success across a range of genres, both in the UK and globally.

“Led by Richard and Anna, Love has a hugely talented team with exciting plans for the future. We are really looking forward to supporting them as they build on their relationships with different broadcasters throughout the industry and helping them to grow the business.”

Richard McKerrow and Anna Beattie, who are joint chief creative officers, Love Productions, said: “We are extremely excited by the prospect of a partnership with Sky.

“We feel it’s the perfect time to be working with a group who can help us realise our creative and commercial potential and fulfil all of our international ambitions for the Love brand.

“Love has always sought to be a pioneering company, launching new ideas and breaking new ground. Sky feels like a company of the future, full of dynamic and extremely creative leaders who will back our independent spirit and are keen to support all our future ambitions.”

The firm also has offices in London, New York and Los Angeles.

Love Productions was set up by Richard McKerrow in October 2004.
He has produced many of the firm’s best known series including the award-winning The Baby Borrowers (pictured), Young Mums Mansion, Famous Rich and Homeless, My Life As An Animal, Kidnapped By The Kids, The Great British Bake-Off, Girls Hit South Africa, and Famous Rich and In The Slums. The shows and formats have sold around Europe and the world and Richard executive produced an American version of The Baby Borrowers for NBC and will be producing a brand new series of Kidnapped By The Kids for a US network. He began his career as a journalist for The Nation magazine in New York. He also worked for Yorkshire TV in its documentaries and current affairs department as a producer and director before joining Channel 4 in 1997 as a commissioning editor. Anna Beattie is joint creative head of Love, with particular responsibility for ideas. She devised and developed many of the company’s stand-out hits, including The Baby Borrowers, Filthy Rich and Homeless and Young Mums’ Mansion.
She started as a runner at LWT and joined BBC Manchester in 1992 to work on “yoof” current affairs series. In 1998 she left to join Channel 4 as a deputy commissioning editor in the features department. In 1999 she became editor and was responsible for the early series of Grand Designs and Location, Location, Location.


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