Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

The success behind Scotland’s fast-growing LS Productions – and what enticed co-creator of The Hoobs to work there

LS Productions - David Beckham BTS shoot

From work on Harry Styles’ Grammy-nominated ‘Adore You’ music video to episodes of reality hit series The Bachelor, Scottish production company LS Productions has evolved from an idea at a kitchen table in Edinburgh to generating revenues of almost £20m in 2022.

But it’s almost a completely different world for Angus Fletcher, former president at The Jim Henson Company, who has switched puppets for the drama of reality TV after joining LS Productions as executive producer of film & television in 2021.

“Up until two years ago, I knew next to nothing about reality TV. Coming from a novelty background, arguably, I didn’t ever exist in the real world,” Angus Fletcher tells Prolific North.

We dip back in time almost immediately to the 90’s during our lengthy chat, where Fletcher modestly digs into his impressive career. Like many working in film and television at the time, he felt pushed into moving to London to pursue a career in the industry.

“This industry has always been London or LA centric. I didn’t grow up in London but like everyone else, moved there because I wanted to work in this world and there weren’t many opportunities in the west coast of Scotland, even in Edinburgh or Manchester.

“There was no way. You went to London, that was that.” 

Progressing through the ranks of The Jim Henson Company to the role of president, he helped co-create, produce and executive produced ‘hundreds of hours of television’.

“If you work at a company like Jim Henson, it’s very difficult to work somewhere else because it really was the circus. From Sesame Street to working on dramas, it was an amazing place.”

He upped and left when the company sold and shuttered its London operations in 2003.  

“As a family, we didn’t want to move to LA land because our kids were very small. Our children, who are now grown up, hate us for not moving to LA – particularly those who want to be acting!” 

Credited as co-creator and executive producer of BAFTA-winning The Hoobs, Executive Producer of the BAFTA-nominated Mopatop’s Shop, to working on The Secret Life of Toys to name a few of his hits over the years, his work has taken him “all around the world”.

Angus Fletcher

Although it might not quite be like the “circus” of Jim Henson Company, he was drawn to how “unique” LS Productions is as a company.

“LS Productions is one of those companies that is special. Although there are no Muppets involved like at Jim Henson, I loved how different their story was from the outside looking in, as a female founded company launched from a kitchen table. It’s very easy to get dismissed as a cliché, but it happens to be true. It’s very collaborative and very engaging.”

LS Productions, founded by Marie Owen from her home in Edinburgh in 2006, now has a growing team of around 50 in-house production and location staff based across its HQ in Edinburgh and additional offices in London, Manchester and a production hub in Malta.

“I was admiring from afar, then got in touch. For the last 20 years I was consulting, after we met we all fitted quite well together and I ended up getting much more involved and started working on a couple of series in Cheshire.

“It’s a great place to work and does everything possible to look after people. The culture is warm and collaborative internally but it’s also quite cool and we have a fun time!”

“It was a rollercoaster”

Since joining LS Productions, the production service company has been named as one of the Sunday Times 100 fastest-growing private companies and one of the top 10 in the FEBE Growth 100 list in 2023.

With the company “constantly on the move”, it might dip into commercial projects with David Beckham strolling on a sandy beach in East Lothian whilst showcasing what Scotland has to offer the world of whisky, delivering locations and productions for episodes of The Bachelor in Malta, to music videos, film and TV shows, or fashion and sports campaigns.

Having this multi-genre approach seems to have become the key to success for LS Productions.

“2022 was a pretty extraordinary year. Coming out of Covid, across the board that was a huge year for most people. But the world is a very different place than it was three years ago.

“From global events, politics, the cost of living crisis, the small matter of a war, then in the middle of that there were the US strikes, it was a rollercoaster.

“If you scratched the surface of most companies, 2023 was not a good year for everyone. One of our strengths in navigating some of those choppier times is with us having depth, having a multi-genre approach, looking at both the short-term and longer term and diversifying wherever it might be.”

“We’re not a single genre or indeed a single location operation,” he adds.

LS Productions

“People would be lying if they said the UK industry has bounced back”

Last year, founder Marie Owen revealed an ambitious target of £40m revenues by the end of 2025. But, does Fletcher believe this is achievable?

“Luckily, she said it last year, so we’re technically in year one,” he teases. “It’s very early days on that journey, but our work is definitely on an upward trajectory.”

But whether it’s a pandemic, economic instability, strikes or war, the film and TV industry has had to navigate difficult times recently and it all could “change in a nanosecond”.

“The UK’s dependency on the US as a film and TV centre is pretty enormous. I think everyone finally realised that during the strike after what happened to the UK industry.

“One of the fundamental vulnerabilities in the UK is this dependency on one genre – scripted – and sources – UK commissions and US steamers. If either of those has any sort of hiccup, which it did last year, the effects are enormous.

“People would be lying if they said the UK industry has bounced back, because it hasn’t. With high-profile projects, throw into the mix streamers not commissioning nearly as much, broadcasters are commissioning less and holding back on their commissioning decisions, it’s not necessarily the perfect storm, there’s definitely a time of transition because the models are changing.”

As for the future, he’s a little weary about sharing too many details.

“I’m a total fatalist,” he laughs. “The idea of me saying something means it automatically won’t happen, which annoys everyone considerably! We are working on two or three partnerships in low budget features, particularly in Scotland.”

“One of the big areas is television movies, which we’re quite excited about, with Hallmark movies and the whole romcom world.

“Enormous numbers of them shoot in the UK, and they just sort of happen on the edge of everything. We see it as an opportunity and we are having quite a few conversations about those kinds of projects.

“This is where we’re developing an entertainment side to the company, a sizable side of the company, that is in for the long haul. We’re weathering current storms, as well as planning for the future, but there are so many discussions going on with so many projects on the go.

“There is value within the UK infrastructure for service companies, not just co-producers, and we’re not confined to any one country. That, is the key to our growth.”

Related News