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ITV Studios goes into Warp drive

ITV Studios Global Entertainment has signed a multi-year, first look scripted deal with Warp Films, the UK-based feature film producer behind This is England.

The development deal, which will see ITVSGE represent Warp’s programming on the international market, will significantly boost Warp’s television production ambitions. The two companies said Warp would “ramp up their television development activity” in coming weeks.

Warp is based in Sheffield and London in the UK and is behind feature films such as Dead Man’s Shoes and the This is England franchise, both of which are from director Shane Meadows. This is England TV spin-offs This is England ’86 and This is England ’88 broadcast on UK terrestrial Channel 4 to critical acclaim and strong ratings in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

Warp is currently producing drama Southcliffe for C4 and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Ruth Clarke, ITVSGE’s director of global acquisitions and coproductions, brokered the deal with Warp’s head of business and commercial affairs Alex Marshall and Richard Lever of Lee and Thompson for Warp.

Clarke said: “Warp’s reputation for edgy, thought-provoking films that command an almost cult following was very attractive to us. Their productions offer an alternative point of view to the mainstream and we think this approach, translated to television, will have a very clear place in the international market.”

Mark Herbert, CEO, Warp, said: “There are exciting opportunities in international drama right now. We wanted to find the right partner to help us create truly international television. Our ethos has always been to support talent in creating authored work and as we got to know Maria [Kyriacou, ITVSGE’s MD] and the team at ITVSGE, we could see that they understood the importance of this to Warp and would be well positioned to find the right international homes for our shows.”