BBC Studios Partners With Mercury On Music Formats; Banijays Terence Films Behind Louis Braille Series; BBC Seeks North East Factual Show Global Briefs

BBC Studios has struck a development deal with Universal Music Group’s Mercury Studios to create a pipeline of music-driven shows. The partnership will see BBC Studios’ recently-restructured Documentary Unit work with Mercury on formats, series and feature docs within four main categories: social history, social purpose, specialist factual and factual entertainment. The pair will handle distribution of the projects on a case-by-case basis. Mercury launched last year after subsuming Universal’s former entertainment arm Eagle Rock Entertainment and the outfit is led by former BBC Children’s boss Alice Webb. Webb said: “When you combine two powerhouses – the global reach and musical heritage of BBC Studios with the capabilities and insight of Mercury Studios, it makes for a very formidable partnership.”

Banijay France label Terence Films is developing a drama series based on Hélène Jousse’s best-selling novel The Hands of Louis Braille. Maigret et la Jeune Morte’s Patrice Leconte is behind the adaptation, which isn’t attached to a network at present. The book traces the life of young genius Braille, who lost his sight when he was four and, through his desire to access knowledge in his early teens, revolutionized the world by creating the tactile writing system that bears his name. “We have a very established scripted business in France and this deal is further evidence of how our companies attract significant talent and IP,” said Banijay Head of Scripted Lars Blomgren.

The BBC daytime and early peak department has opened a tender process for a factual series to be produced from the North East of England. Indies will have to have a base in the region or partner with a company that does for the 15-part series, which will be commissioned by the BBC’s first ever North East-based daytime commissioner Helen Munson. An official tender document will be put out next year and the move forms part of the corporation’s commitment to spend £25M ($33.2M) over the next five years in the North East.

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