SPAA 2012: BBC splits from Freehand

BBC Worldwide has parted company with production company Freehand Productions after 5 years.

Freehand has produced BBC shows in Australia including Dancing with the Stars and Top Gear Australia.

Yesterday at the Screen Producer’s Conference in Melbourne, Helen Jackson Managing Director of Content and Production, BBC Worldwide, said BBC was now considering new Australian partners.

“We’ve decided to go our separate ways and Freehand have acquired the shares that we had, back,” she said.

“We are looking for what’s the right thing for us to do to work in Australia, whether as a partnership with someone or how it’s best to go about it. We haven’t decided yet. But Australia is absolutely going to remain important to us as a market.”

A BBC Worldwide Australia spokesperson said in a statement to TV Tonight, “After a successful five year partnership, BBC Worldwide and Freehand have decided to go their separate ways. Peter Abbott has acquired all of BBC Worldwide’s shares in Freehand and is leading the company going forward. BBC Worldwide remains committed to local production in Australia and is reviewing its options going forward.”

Peter Abbott told TV Tonight, “The experience of being attached to the BBC was a great learning experience for us, a positive for our access to market. Since becoming independent again, we’ve been able to become more nimble and responsive – back to our roots as an indie.”

Freehand is still expected to produce the 2013 season of Dancing with the Stars.

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