Banijay UK’s Workerbee Group has made its first major investment.
It is backing North Wales label, Ty’r Ddraig, which was set up by Workerbee’s former Head of Development, Ben Smith.
The Wrexham native will move into the role of Creative Director as he focuses on producing high volume, popular factual series and features.
“The idea of building something so significant in my hometown is a lifelong dream. Our goal is to work with the existing local production community and higher education to build an indie North East Wales can be proud of,” said Smith.
“From the get-go we have plans to establish a number of apprenticeships at Ty’r Ddraig, training local talent in production, audio and post. I can’t wait to get going with our exciting slate of new ideas and to start producing factual programmes for the widest possible audience. We also have a number of soon-to-be announced collaborations on network series with local companies in the region.”
Smith has been producing programmes based in the North West for 2 decades, having previously worked in-house for the BBC and ITV, as well as indies, Red Sauce, Shiver and True North.
At Zinc’s Red Sauce he won commissions from Channel 4 for Legends of Comedy with Lenny Henry and sold more than 200 hours of the Bargain Loving Brits brand to Channel 5 – part of which was the biggest ever order achieved by the Zinc Media group.
“We know what a huge talent Ben is so jumped at the opportunity to invest in his Welsh label,” explained Rick Murray, CEO Workerbee Group.
“Traditionally, Cardiff has attracted the most investment, but with its strong links to the fast-growing TV industry in the North West of England, it feels like North East Wales is ready to have its moment in the limelight. Supporting emerging, out of London companies was what the Workerbee Group was set up to do and this is the first of many deals to do just that.”