Banijay U.K.’s Kudos has signed a creative partnership deal with “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight. Under the terms of the deal, Kudos will get a first look at future U.K. based projects originated by Knight and support the Birmingham film and TV industry.
Kudos, the production company behind “Deadwater Fell” and “Grantchester,” is also producing the upcoming BBC One series “SAS Rogue Heroes,” created by Knight. Their next collaboration “Two Tone” (working title) has been greenlit by BBC One for a six-part series.
“Two Tone” tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two tone music, which grew from the grass roots of Coventry and Birmingham in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The music united Black, white and Asian youths in an expression of unity. It will go into production later this year and will be made in Birmingham at Knight’s new Digbeth Loc film and TV studio. Banijay Rights will handle international distribution.
The Kudos-Knight partnership will make a substantial long-term financial investment in skills and training in the U.K.’s West Midlands region, with Digbeth Loc as its hub. It has the ambition of growing the local workforce, incubating talent and generating a scripted production pipeline in Birmingham.
Knight said: “This is a real opportunity to nurture and grow the TV industry in the fertile soil of Birmingham. We need local people, local locations, local know-how and local stories to help us make world beating screen content. As a partner, Kudos could not be more prestigious and it’s a pleasure to welcome them into town. We hit the ground running in the next few months with our first project which is West Midlands to its core, and I am hugely excited by what the future holds.”
Martin Haines, joint MD of Kudos said: “I am delighted we are building on our relationship with Steve and taking our partnership to the next level in this fantastic way which will have real impact on the production industry in Birmingham and the West Midlands.”
Karen Wilson, joint MD of Kudos added: “Steven and Kudos are absolutely aligned in our drive to produce outstanding scripted television, and with a number of exciting ideas already in development, I’m confident that this partnership will do just that.”
Ben Irving, acting director of BBC Drama said about “Two Tone”: “Steven has taken his knowledge of this time and place and used it to weave a brilliantly original and characterful drama, set against the musical backdrop of ska and two tone.”
“Two Tone” will be produced by Kudos and Knight’s Nebulastar, in association with Kudos North, Stigma Films (“Choose or Die”) and music industry veteran Nick Angel, whose recent music supervisor credits include “Anatomy of a Scandal” and “Brassic.”
The focus on Birmingham is part of a concerted effort across U.K. companies to move productions out of London. In February, Banijay U.K. company Shine TV signed a six-year deal with the BBC to produce all series in the U.K. “MasterChef” franchise from Birmingham, with production due to start in 2024 at Digbeth Loc.