UK producer Woodcut Media has merged with Anthology Group sibling Spark TV to launch a factual-focused company that will be based out of Bristol.
Woodcut West will develop and produce natural history and specialist factual programming for the UK and international market, with the company formally launching on 1 December.
The move will see the Spark TV label effectively being retired, but the producer’s founder Paul Wooding will remain within Anthology as head of the new Bristol-based outfit.
He has previously secured commissions from the BBC, Discovery US and UK, History, Smithsonian Channel, Channel 4 and National Geographic, with credits including T. Rex Autopsy, Blitz Street and Wild Tube.
The decision to merge Spark TV into Woodcut comes six weeks after the Kate Beal-led company revealed it was moving into distribution with the launch of Woodcut International.
The prodcos said the merger of Spark TV was a “natural next step in Woodcut’s expansion” which would benefit the two firms, both of which are part of the Anthology Group that emerged in 2018 from what was Bob & Co.
Beal, co-founder & CEO at Woodcut, said: “Bristol is recognised worldwide as the UK’s creative hub for natural history and wildlife documentaries and we have known and respected Paul’s work for many years now; he breaks the mould when it comes to producing bold, innovative and immersive programming.
“This alliance will allow us to expand our mutual specialist factual horizons and branch out into new genres, which is a very exciting next stage in Woodcut’s growth.”
Wooding added: “Woodcut shares the same vision and work ethos as I do when it comes to factual production. In the lead up to this launch, we have been brainstorming numerous ideas, and have a number of projects in development that we will be announcing over the coming months.
“Our combination of editorial expertise and talent base will provide a broad and exciting range of great projects for the broadcasters we all love to work with worldwide.”
Hilary Strong, chairman of Woodcut Media and CEO of the Anthology Group, added that the deal would bring “creative synergies and scale to both” firms. “Paul’s impressive track record for bold and innovative production, combined with Woodcut’s creativity, scale and unparalleled track record make for a formidable team.”