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BBCWW backs Alex Graham, Michael Jackson firm

Scripted-logo-460_2BBC Worldwide has bought a minority stake in Two Cities Television, a new drama indie that Alex Graham and Michael Jackson have established.

The commercial arm of the UK pubcaster will gain global distribution rights across platforms for all Two Cities-produced shows over a five-year period in return.

UK trade Broadcast broke the news this morning. It is understood a formal announcement on the investment is forthcoming.

Wall to Wall co-founder Graham and former Channel 4 CEO Jackson are leading Two Cities, which was established earlier this year, and are focusing on commissions in both the UK, Europe and US. Jackson is based in New York, after moving across the pond in 2001 upon leaving Channel 4, and will work from there.

Graham left Wall to Wall, which is now part of Warner Bros. Television Production UK, more than two years ago, while Jackson ran Channel 4 for four years and was controller of both BBC One and Two. He also ran USA Entertainment, which Barry Diller

News broke in July Graham was in talks with Jackson about Two Cities, and separately was discussing setting up another content company with All3Media founders David Liddiment, Steve Morrison and Jules Burns.

BBCWW sees Graham’s expertise in the UK market and Jackson’s US contacts as a big advantage in sourcing talent and securing international commissions and coproductions that underpin many big budget dramas in the current market.

The BBC’s commercial division has been making various investments in the UK indie market in the past year, notably buying into new unscripted venture 72 Films and fledgling drama firm House Productions just this month.

Further back, it bought into in Greenbird Media, Lookout Point, Mighty Productions and Cuba Pictures parent Original Talent, which it says is part of strategy to invest in premium British content.