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The Crown producer targets China drama

UK drama production company Left Bank Pictures is to begin targeting the Chinese market after signing a co-development deal with the China International Television Corporation.

Andy HarriesThis pact will see Sony Pictures Television-owned Left Bank, which is producing Netflix royal drama The Crown, and CITVC working up English-language scripted programming for the Chinese and international markets.

The deal closely follows last week’s news that China-focused private equity firm Gate Ventures had taken a 20% stake in another British production company, Infinity Creative Media.

Both Left Bank and CITVC will bring their own ideas to the table for their co-development deal with a view to selecting one English-language title that would go into production by next year and then onto air in China.

SPT will distribute the resulting programming on the international market, excluding mainland China.

Twenty-one-year-old CITVC is a subsidiary of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, and is recognised as one of the biggest media groups in China with around 19,000 employees, 102 wholly-owned enterprises and subsidiaries in the USA, Japan, Hong Kong and Africa.

“China’s culture is extensive and profound, and has gained more and more love and attention around the world,” said Xue Jijun, chairman and president of CITVC.

“We hope we can discover and create more and better film and television content, and distribute them to audiences around the world through collaborating with outstanding companies such as Left Bank and Sony Pictures Television.”

Left Bank is best known for series such as Sky1’s Mad Dogs and Strike Back and BBC One’s version of Scandinavian cop drama Wallander, and is currently in production on £100 million (US$157 million) ten-part Netflix series The Crown.

“China is in many ways the last frontier of television and we have been looking for opportunities in this vast market for some time,” said Left Bank managing director Andy Harries (pictured).

“It is the ultimate challenge to get into a successful partnership that makes programmes which reflect both our and the Chinese culture, and we believe CITVC is the ideal partner to attempt just that.”