Craig Holleworth and Elizabeth Kilgarriff
BBC Studios has increased its investment in Firebird Pictures, the scripted independent production company set up by Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. The deal sees the BBC’s main commercial arm taking full ownership of the indie, adding the company to its portfolio of majority-owned indie labels.
Established in 2019 by former BBC executives Kilgarriff and Holleworth, Firebird works with and champions top level and emerging talent to create high-end character-led series for British and international audiences. BBC Studios has been a minority investor in the business since it was launched.
The indie has recently had two major series green-lit: “Wilderness,” a six-part series for Prime Video; and an adaptation of Nikki May’s best-selling debut novel, “Wahala,” for BBC One. Furthermore, Firebird has multiple projects in development with many of the major platforms in the United Kingdom and the United States, with more greenlights due to be announced later this year.
“Since it launched three years ago, Firebird has been firing on all cylinders, attracting top and emerging talent and building an exciting slate with international appeal. With two major series now green lit and a number of shows in development, we are excited to bring Liz and Craig into the BBC Studios family and support them in this next phase of their journey,” said Mark Linsey, Managing Director Scripted at BBC Studios.
“From the very beginning of Firebird’s journey with just a blank piece of paper and an empty office with one chair, BBC Studios have supported and backed us every step of the way, fully trusting in our vision and ambition and helping build the company to where we are today. We are delighted to now be cementing our relationship and are excited for Firebird’s future as we grow the company together,” Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth added.
The announcement sees the number of world-class indie labels majority owned by BBC Studios grow to six. Others include Lookout Point, Baby Cow Productions, House Productions, Clerkenwell Films, and Sid Gentle Films. In August, the BBC’s commercial arm also announced that it was taking 25% stake in Mothership Productions, the new factual indie set up by former Channel 4 Deputy Director of Programmes, Kelly Webb-Lamb.
BBC Studios have supported and backed us every step of the way, fully trusting in our vision and ambition and helping build the company to where we are today.” Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth Founders of Firebird Pictures