Producer Profile: Darlow Smithson Productions (UK)

Darlow Smithson Productions
April 1, 2007

Darlow Smithson Productions


DSP loomed large in the last Global 100 report, but the past year has been a one of change for the company. At the beginning of last April, the company (along with Tiger Aspect) was acquired by IMG Media, an outfit better associated with sports than docos. Follow that with internal movements that saw executive chairman John Smithson become chief creative director; head of factual Tom Brisley become creative director; and former EPs Ben Bowie and Paul Wooding become senior eps – changes likely made in response to DSP doubling its turnover to £20 million from ’05 to ’06.

While several Darlow Smithson productions caught viewers’ attention, it was really Falling Man that guaranteed their return to the G100. Note some of the comments on the film: ‘Hands down, the best bit of television I can remember seeing all year. Simply amazing. A very sensitive and compelling approach to a clearly divisive topic… I found it reassuring proof that despite much of the jingoism that inevitably surrounded the commemoration, there was still a place for someone to tell a quiet, serious, and moving story.’ Or, perhaps even higher praise: ‘I was in tears pretty much throughout both of them. [Falling Man and Testimony Films' The Miracle of Stairway B]. If this were a jury, I would be thrown off because I don’t believe I can think clearly on the subject. As someone who lived through 9/11 on the corner of Broadway and Dey, I can confirm the two projects captured the horror of the day, the orderly mass confusion and panic you felt as the dust settled and the desperate search began for the missing.’

Recent titles: I Shouldn’t be Alive, Falling Man, Battle of the Somme

Employees: 160

Hours this year: roughly 80

Upcoming includes: Lusitania: Murder on the Atlantic (BBC, NDR, M6, Discovery US), Beckoning Silence – the follow-up to Touching the Void (Channel 4, Discovery US), Seconds from Disaster, series 3 (NGC, NGCI)

About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.