BBC Studios and Anton Self-Commission First Original Comedy Drama Cheaters

A Premium High Volume Short-Form Series from Clerkenwell Films

This is the first time that we have fully commissioned a drama without a broadcaster already on board, which marks an exciting moment for us at BBC Studios. We’ve seen an increase in the demand for super-premium content in a bite-sized format and Cheaters is a bold comedy drama that will engage audiences in this new way. It’s young, it’s fresh and comes from Clerkenwell who have a well-established knack for creating punchy and eye-catching content that audiences just love
— Mark Linsey, BBC Studios Chief Creative Officer

BBC Studios and Anton have greenlit their first premium short-form scripted series Cheaters, from Clerkenwell Films, the makers of Misfits, Lovesick, and The End of the F***ing World. Clerkenwell has a proven track record in creating innovative series with huge audience appeal and high fan engagement across a range of established and emerging platforms.

An eighteen-episode returnable series told in ten-minute chapters, Cheaters is a sexy, messy, comedy drama about morality and monogamy, and everything in between. The series is written and created by breakout writer Oliver Lyttelton, known for his short film The Listener, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2015 and was longlisted for Best Short Film at the 2016 BAFTAs.

Cheaters tells the story of a chance meeting after a cancelled flight that leads to an unlikely night of drunken airport-hotel sex between twenty-something strangers Fola and Josh.  The next morning, as they rush to make the rescheduled flight, both admit they are with other people – Fola is married to Zack, and Josh is in a long term relationship with Esther. After arguing at the airport and ignoring each other on the plane, they finally agree their night of passion was a mistake and go their separate ways. But as Josh gets off at the bus stop next to his flat, he’s horrified to see Fola pulling up in a taxi across the road and heading into the house she has just bought. Josh and Fola are going to be neighbours…

Mark Linsey, BBC Studios Chief Creative Officer, says: “This is the first time that we have fully commissioned a drama without a broadcaster already on board,  which marks an exciting moment for us at BBC Studios. We’ve seen an increase in the demand for super-premium content in a bite-sized format and Cheaters is a bold comedy drama that will engage audiences in this new way. It’s young, it’s fresh and comes from Clerkenwell who have a well-established knack for creating punchy and eye-catching content that audiences just love”.

Murray Ferguson, Chief Executive at Clerkenwell Films, says: “Cheaters is the first of several series we’re developing in this format. It’s clear from the success of The End of the F***ing World that there is a huge appetite globally for new and innovative content that is high quality yet easy to consume and prepared to break with convention both in format and narrative content.  Oliver Lyttelton’s scripts and characters are brilliantly surprising and addictive.  It’s such a pleasure working with him.

Writer Oliver Lyttelton says: “I’m thrilled to be working with Clerkenwell Films, BBC Studios and Anton on Cheaters. Stories about infidelity are as old as time, but I think we’ve found one that takes on the big thorny questions of guilt, sex, morality and monogamy in a way that’s surprising, funny, painful, messy and relatable.”

Sebastien Raybaud, CEO at Anton, says: “The global audience’s appetite for unique creative content is increasing exponentially.  The combination of Clerkenwell’s exciting, innovative storytelling and Oliver’s original voice coupled with the accessibility of the short form format is an exciting proposition.”

Cheaters is the first commission in a long-term development deal between BBC Studios, Anton and Clerkenwell Films, previously announced by BBC Studios CEO, Tim Davie in 2018. The partnership sees BBC Studios, Clerkenwell Films and Anton developing and funding a slate of high-end, short-form drama and comedy projects to be produced by Clerkenwell and co-financed by BBC Studios and Anton.  The deal will see the creation of premium, high volume, short-form content produced for digital and linear platforms, with additional funds set aside to self-commission.

Cheaters has been commissioned by BBC Studios and Anton. It is a Clerkenwell Films production, funded by BBC Studios and Anton. Executive Producers are Murray Ferguson, Petra Fried, Matt Jarvis, Emily Harrison, and Caroline Stone.

Cheaters goes into production in February 2020.

 

For more information, please contact: JAMILA ATTA Jamila.atta@bbc.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios, a global content company with British creativity at its heart, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group.  Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services, and ancillaries from both its own productions and programmes and formats made by high-quality UK independents. Award-winning British programmes made by the business are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, including factual, drama, entertainment and comedy. BBC Studios has offices in 22 markets globally, including six production bases in the UK and production bases and partnerships in a further nine countries around the world. The company, which makes around 2,500 hours of content a year, is a champion for British creativity around the world and a committed partner for the UK’s independent sector. Created in April 2018 by the merger of two existing commercial subsidiaries, BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, the company has revenue of around £1.4bn.  In the year to March 2019, it returned £243m to the BBC Group, complementing the BBC’s licence fee and enhancing programmes for UK audiences.

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About Clerkenwell Films

Clerkenwell Films is a multi-award-winning film and television production company. Formed in 1998, Clerkenwell Films is firmly established as one of the leading scripted producers in the UK, creating high quality, popular television for both UK and international audiences. Among its credits are award-winning, critically acclaimed shows such as MisfitsLovesick and The End of the F***ing World.  BBC Studios has a 48% stake in Clerkenwell Films.

About Anton

Anton Corp. is a global content provider of commercial, high quality product across multiple platforms. The company has financed international hit features such as the Paddington franchise; Non-Stop; Shaun The Sheep and the upcoming animated feature Fireheart, from the producers of Ballerina. Recent television projects include the acclaimed BBC series: McMafia; Les Miserables and the highly anticipated BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, starring James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson, directed by Tom Hooper. Anton Corp’s newly launched film production arm includes titles such as Greenland, starring Gerard Butler; The Night House, starring Rebecca Hall; Naked Singularity, starring John Boyega, and Come Closer, to be directed by David Slade.