Speaking to RealScreen from the London Programme Market, John Drury – recently-appointed head of factual at the U.K.’s largest independent distributor, Granada Media International – said he was keen to invest in ‘landmark factual programming’ in the fields of history, science, wildlife and travel/expedition.
‘We want factual events in the GMI portfolio,’ says Drury. ‘We need to make a mark with the talent base and show that we are serious about expanding the range of our factual output.’ Science Times, the recently announced copro between Granada and The New York Times (for TLC U.S.) typifies this drive.
Drury was drafted in to GMI from BBC Manchester three months ago. He is not only responsible for expanding GMI’s slate, but also for brooking partnerships for Granada Media’s four in-house regional production teams (Granada, LWT, Yorkshire and Tyne-Tees). The most recent of such ventures have involved pairing up teams with Associate Producers in Canada, the NYT and Australian Geographic.
GMI, formerly known as BRITE, has historically been less willing to work with non-Granada production outfits in the U.K. than rival distributors ITEL and Carlton International, but Drury says a key aspect of his brief is to co-opt indies ‘which can add some new creative dimension to our business.’
The goal is to produce internationally-focused factual ideas for the distribution market. Drury is already talking to indies ‘and commissioning editors about who their preferred suppliers are.’
To date, Drury has been most active in English-speaking territories. But he is also looking for partners in mainland Europe which can help Granada group gain a production foothold. ‘We need to work with companies which have local companies that can alert broadcasters to what Granada has to offer.’