Rainmaker Content takes minority equity stake in Saffron Cherry Productions

Over the last year, Rainmaker and Saffron Cherry have worked together on a slate of returning drama series, which they will now bring to market.

29 NOV 2022

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Rainmaker Content has taken a minority equity stake in Saffron Cherry Productions, the award-winning, multi-genre indie founded by Caroline Roberts-Cherry, Martin Riley, and Sally Lindsay. The agreement, which builds on Rainmaker’s existing first-look deal with the producer, represents a first for both parties: it is Rainmaker’s first investment in an indie and Saffron Cherry’s first equity partnership. Graham Begg, founder, and co-chief executive officer of Rainmaker Content, will join Saffron Cherry’s board as part of the deal. Rainmaker director, Debbie Manners, was influential in bringing the two parties together and continues to play an active role at the heart of the relationship between the two companies.

Greg Phillips, founder and co-chief executive officer of Rainmaker Content, said: “In today’s challenging climate, creative companies need a mix of talent, commercial acumen and strong relationships if they are to be sustainable. Over the last year, it’s become clear that Rainmaker and Saffron Cherry not only have complementary skills, visions and voices, but that, working together, we can go further and achieve greater. Our investment in Saffron Cherry recognises that and signals our ambition to continue to deliver fresh and engaging shows."

Caroline Roberts-Cherry, founder and managing director of Saffron Cherry added: “Rainmaker’s commitment will allow Saffron Cherry to get where we want to be faster; it was important to Martin, Sally and I to partner with a company who ‘got us’ and who recognise the power of authentic storytelling. We look forward to this next exciting chapter.”

Over the last year, Rainmaker and Saffron Cherry have worked together on a slate of returning drama series, which they will now bring to market. In-development highlights include "Blurred by Ian Winterton" (6 x 60 mins), about a police officer with a disturbing talent for ‘super-recognizing’ faces; "The Dales Detective Agency," based on Julia Chapman’s best-selling book series of the same name and adapted by Stewart Harcourt (Maigret, Agatha Raisin, Poirot) (3 x 90 mins), which brings together the diverse worlds of Murder-mystery, Romance — and Farming; "Fit For a Queen" by Richard Easter (6 x 60 mins), based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite fashion designer, Norman Hartnell, and Hudson Hughes by Tanya Samuel MBE (6 x 60 mins) which chronicles the adventures of the surprisingly talented nephew of Sherlock Holmes' housekeeper.

The Saffron Cherry scripted slate is headed up by Jane Langford. Jane joined Saffron Cherry as head of scripted in 2021, following her time as a story producer at C4’s "Hollyoaks." Before that, she spent many years as director of scripted development at Sony Pictures Television in London, where she worked across Sony’s International portfolio in all scripted genres. She has also worked in a freelance capacity with a number of companies, including Stolen Picture and Heap Mason Media. Based in Manchester, Saffron Cherry produces television, cinematic film, and digital short-form content across the scripted and non-scripted genres, actively promoting projects that are rooted in the North-West but have global appeal. Recent hits include "The Madame Blanc Mysteries," starring Sally Lindsay (Mount Pleasant; Cold Call; Scott & Bailey) and Steve Edge (The Madame Blanc Mysteries; Starlings; Phoenix Nights). The six-part mystery drama, commissioned for Channel 5 and Acorn TV, was co-produced by Clapperboard and Saffron Cherry, created by Lindsay, and co-written by Lindsay and Sue Vincent.

In children’s, the company’s content includes the CBBC drama "The Wonton Warrior," which was this year nominated for three international awards. The company also make the hit show "The World According to Grandpa" for Channel 5's Milkshake!, which this year won the best pre-school show at the Broadcast Awards and Best children’s program at the Voice of the Viewers and Listeners Awards. The show is also made in Welsh with partners Boom Cymru for S4C and will next year also be made in Irish with partners Telgael for TG4. Factual titles include Noël Coward by Julian Clary for Sky Arts, which was nominated for best documentary at the Broadcast Digital Awards, and the O2 Media Award-winning Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant for the BBC.