Former Head Of Drama at Thames Television, Paul Marquess has teamed up with BBC Worldwide to launch a new independent production company, Cliffhanger Productions.
The new company will focus on returning drama for UK networks and is already in talks with commissioners on several projects.
Marquess will hold a 75% stake in Cliffhanger, with BBC Worldwide holding the remaining share.
BBC Worldwide will take responsibility for commercialising Cliffhanger content through its global sales and marketing network as well as its local production bases.
Announcing the new venture, Cliffhanger MD Paul Marquess, said: "BBC Worldwide is the perfect partner – especially the dedicated Indie Unit who will work with us to develop and exploit our television projects and help us push into other areas such as digital and DVD.
"Our creative team is bursting with ideas – and BBC Worldwide brings a wealth of commercial expertise and phenomenal global presence to the venture."
BBC Worldwide Director of Independents, Helen Jackson, added: "Working with outstanding production talent like Paul is crucial to our investment strategy. Not only does it give upcoming indies a chance to break though, but it also ensures we secure the best content for our global distribution business.
"We are really looking forward to working with Paul and his team to generate commercial returns around the world for Cliffhanger."
Marquess was the creator of Footballers' Wives and is credited with reinventing and re-invigorating ITV's long-runner The Bill.
He also Executive Produced Family Affairs and Murder Investigation Team and was Series Producer on Brookside for two years.
Paul has spent the last couple of years developing drama for Endemol subsidiary Showrunner – and takes that company’s entire development slate with him to Cliffhanger.
Working alongside Paul as Head Of Production will be Donna Wiffen (who fulfilled the same role at Showrunner and talkbackThames) and Development Producers Claire Fryer and Marianna Abbotts.
This is BBC Worldwide's second venture with a UK independent producer following a deal with Leftbank earlier this year.
Notes to Editors:
About the Indie Unit
BBC Worldwide's Indie Unit was launched in 2000, and is charged with the specific task of building partnerships with the UK's dynamic Indie production sector. The Unit currently has strong day-to-day relationships with more than 40 of the UK's top Independent production companies. The Indie Unit is a one-stop shop for Indies and provides a link with the full range of BBC Worldwide businesses. Deals are not limited to BBC commissions, and BBC Worldwide continues to invest in and promote the best of British content from whichever commissioning or producing source.
BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). The company exists to maximise the value of the BBC’s assets for the benefit of the licence payer and invest in public service programming in return for rights. The company has six core businesses: Global Channels, Global TV Sales, Magazines, Content & Production, Home Entertainment and Digital Media. In 2006/07, BBC Worldwide generated profits of £111 million on sales of £810 million.