Avalon takes majority stake in TV & film talent firm The Agency

Happy Valley

UK-based production group Avalon has acquired a majority stake in British talent firm The Agency, whose clients have included Happy Valley writer Sally Wainwright and Doctor Foster’s Mike Bartlett.

The talent agency – which represents writers, actors, directors and comedians across film, TV and theatre – will continue to operate under the leadership of its partners, with offices in New York, LA and London.

The Agency’s clients have created numerous TV series ranging from World On Fire’s Peter Bowker and Noughts & Crosses’ Lydia Adetunji to Doctor Who’s Russell T Davies and Paula Milne, who was behind The Politician’s Wife.

Debbie Horsfield (Poldark), Jimmy McGovern (Moving On) and Andrew Davies (House of Cards) have also been with the company, which also represents dramatic rights for authors including Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel, Zadie Smith and William Boyd.

The Agency also works across kids books, including YA novels to picture book classics such as Giraffes Can’t Dance (Guy Parker Rees and Raymond Briggs).

Stephen Durbridge, The Agency co-founder, said: “Avalon and The Agency have collaborated for many years. This closer association will allow our company to continue to expand, particularly in the international marketplace. Over 25 years, we have built a highly talented and experienced team and been fortunate to represent the very best writers, directors and creatives in the market. We are excited about the prospects that this partnership will bring.”

Laura Kennedy, who was appointed CEO of Avalon last year, added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Stephen, and the whole team at The Agency. They have built an impressive business, with expert deal-making, an outstanding roster and exceptional support for their clients, and we are looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”

The Agency was advised by Tom Manwaring of Helion Partners and Martin Wright of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP Solicitors. Avalon was advised by Lindsey Armstrong and David Strong of Marriott Harrison LLP.

Avalon, which already has offices in London, LA and New York, already owns talent agency Artist Rights Group (ARG), which it acquired in 2012 and which represents a roster including Chris Addison, David Baddiel, Greg Davies, Rob Delaney, Toby Jones, Lesley Manville, James Nesbitt, John Oliver, Daniel Radcliffe and Iliza Shlesinger.

The company is also behind a variety of TV shows, such as Not Going Out (BBC), Taskmaster (Channel 4), Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO) and Starstruck (HBO Max/BBC).


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