Fifth Season-backed The Story Collective invests in UK scripted firms Artis Pictures & Maia Pictures

L-R: Rachel Springett & Kate Croft

Fifth Season-backed UK prodco The Story Collective has invested in Kate Crofts scripted firm Artis Pictures and ex-Channel 4 commissioner Rachel Springett’s Maia Pictures.

The Story Collective will provide strategic, commercial, and operational support, as well as development funding, to both companies, with the investment coming as the firm ramps up production on its first scripted commission; Steven Knight’s 12-part series A Thousand Blows (working title), starring and executive produced by Stephen Graham for Disney+.

Launched in 2021 by BBC Studios alum Helen Jackson and Lookout Point duo, Simon Vaughan and Damian Keogh, and changing its name from The Story Company last year, the company aims to work with established and emerging creators & writers to help acquire rights, commission scripts, package projects and manage the sales process on projects.

It is using the backing of Fifth Season to take stakes in content businesses, ranging from start-ups to more established producers, with this investment marking its first in scripted production companies.

Artis Pictures was established by Croft to produce premium drama series in partnership with showrunner executive producers, originating content out of the UK for the international market. The firm previously had a first look deal with Lookout Point and BBC Worldwide, followed by a co-development & production deal with BBC Studios where they produced new talent strand The Break for the BBC. Artis’ first longform series was period fashion saga The Collection, created by Oliver Goldstick and produced for Amazon Prime and France Television.

Springett’s Maia Pictures, meanwhile, is a comedy and drama production company focused on developing projects with a “new generation of original, authored, bold voices telling authentic stories that impact the world today.”

While serving as commissioner at Channel 4, Springett ordered titles including Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Crashing, Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum, Mae Martin’s Feel Good and the pilot for Nida Manzoor’s We Are Lady Parts. Prior to Channel 4, she produced shows including Toast of London, written by Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews, and Peep Show, written by Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain.

Keogh, The Story Collective’s CEO, said: “We are excited to partner with Kate’s and Rachel’s brilliantly creative and distinctive companies, and look forward to working with them to bring their carefully curated shows to life. Both are passionate about the material they develop, and work in a hugely nurturing and supportive way with their writers.”

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