BBC Worldwide’s Ben Donald launching drama indie

BBC Worldwide drama boss Ben Donald is launching Cosmopolitan Pictures, a new UK-based indie.

Ben DonaldThe prodco will be partnership between Donald, Clerkenwell Films and Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster.

It will make scripted shows for the UK and international markets. Clerkenwell is the producer of UK-originated drama Misfits and will coproduce Cosmopolitan series.

BBC Worldwide has previously committed to not taking equity stakes in indie producers. It told TBI that it will not have an ownership stake in Cosmopolitan, with Donald owning 100% of the business. Worldwide will sell Cosmopoilitan’s shows globally under the terms of a first-look agreement.

Worldwide has been on a commissioning drive for its international channels ordering raft of entertainment series – which the company’s programme sales team then distribute. Worldwide has also invested in international drama series including Spies of Warsaw, Parade’s End and Death in Paradise.

Donald has been with Worldwide since 2001. “I have always been creatively involved in the evolution and production of the shows I’ve helped put together,” he said. “I’m delighted now to have the opportunity and support to develop and produce my own ideas. This is a logical next step, having learnt from some of the top talent in the business, and in Clerkenwell Films I have the perfect partner.”

“For some time now it’s been clear than Ben’s expertise lies not only in finding the best partners to support the best material but also his talent for creatively contributing towards projects, said Helen Jackson, chief content officer for BBC Worldwide.

“This next step makes sense for Ben and BBC Worldwide alike, and we’re delighted that BBC Worldwide will benefit from any generation of content, as well as retaining Ben’s entrepreneurial skills.”