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Saffron Cherry celebrates five years of female-first production

Caroline Roberts-Cherry and Sally Lindsay

Award-winning Manchester indie Saffron Cherry Productions, led by MD Caroline Roberts-Cherry and creative director Sally Lindsay, celebrates its 5th anniversary this month with a slate of hit shows on air and more in development.

Top shows currently screening include prime time drama The Madame Blanc Mysteries, and pre-school show The World According to Grandpa.

The wide slate of shows in development cover drama, factual, kids and comedy with established and emerging talent such as BAFTA-nominated Chris Lunt and Michael A Walker (The Swarm) Roanne Bardsley (The Fuck it Bucket, Netflix), Yennis Cheung and Shin Fei Chen (Chinese Burn, BBC ), Cath Staincliffe (Blue Murder, ITV) Keith Brumpton (MI High, CBBC ) and Emma Kennedy (The Kennedys, BBC).

Saffron Cherry has also optioned the international best-selling book series The Dales Detective Agency, whose author Julia Chapman is in the top one per cent of UK Library authors borrowed, and is working with the number one best-selling novelist Fern Britton.

A female led company, Saffron Cherry is committed to all types of diversity and representation in the television industry, in front of and behind the camera, which is evidenced across its output.

The company is working to address the gender imbalance in drama writing, where recent research from the Writers’ Guild revealed that only 14 per cent of original prime time drama content is written by women. Series two of The Madame Blanc Mysteries, created by Sally Lindsay, and co-written by her with her writing partner, Sue Vincent, is currently airing on Channel 5.

The show, made with co-producers Clapperboard, recently made the top ten most watched dramas for week 9-15 January 2023, as reported in Broadcast Magazine, and will also air internationally on Acorn TV this month. Lindsay also plays the lead, Jean White, and acts as executive producer alongside Caroline Roberts-Cherry for Saffron Cherry and Mike Benson for Clapperboard.

Saffron Cherry is also part of The Small Indie Fund with the BBC, with all three of its selected dramas created and written by women, and has partnered with the University of Manchester’s MA screenwriting programming, creating learning and advancement opportunities for the next crop of great British writing talent.
Saffron Cherry’s Broadcast and VLV Award-winning pre-school show, The World According to Grandpa, is now airing Series 1 and 2 on Channel 5’s Milkshake! The show has an all BAME live action cast, led by Don Warrington as Grandpa, and was commissioned alongside a second series in Welsh, made in co-production with Boom Cymru for S4C.

The World According to Grandpa is a truly inclusive show featuring a diverse team both in front and behind the camera, and was commissioned with the support of the government funded Young Audiences Content Fund.

Previous shows created and produced by Saffron Cherry include 02 Media Award winner Emmeline Pankhurst; Making of a Militant for the BBC, and The Wonton Warrior, for CBBC which received three international nominations for The Rockies, Kidscreen Awards and Content Innovation Awards.

Saffron Cherry also recently announced a first look deal with distributor Rainmaker, which has also taken a minority stake in the company.

Sally Lindsay said: “I am enjoying the creative process of TV creation very much and it feels a natural progression for me. New ideas and new scripts are always a joy and being at the very start of something special is the goal. Here’s to the next five years of Saffron Cherry.”

Saffron Cherry celebrated its 5th Anniversary with a Women in TV and Film event at Manchester’s ABC on Thursday 2nd February. The event was Co-hosted with Gravity Media Manchester, Versa Studios and Side Street Studio.

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