New production company starts already geared up to compete for network commissions

AN independent television production company comprising six of Scotland’s leading television programme makers has been launched to realistically compete for UK-wide commissions from the likes of the BBC.

With funding from London-based DCD Media, Matchlight comprises award-winning producer/directors Ross Wilson and Iain Scollay – both currently finishing off projects for BBC Scotland – plus David Smith, who was head of business and legal affairs at Glasgow-based IWC Media and is the new company’s managing director.

Also from IWC is Jacqui Hayden, who is Matchlight’s head of development. And completing the six-strong roster are creative executives, Russell Leven and Andrew Abbott, from the successful Edinburgh production company, Nobles Gate.

Wilson is creative director and he believes the immediate scale and experience of Matchlight means it can straightaway start competing for big UK and international commissions, with the company’s launch coinciding with production having already begun on a Channel 4 documentary, with advanced discussions taking place for another, for the Cutting Edge strand.

Glasgow-based Matchlight’s speciality will be ‘high end’ factual programming and Wilson says he’s keen to consider documentary ideas from Scotland’s media.

He told “Whether it’s the Mississippi or the former Soviet Union that I have been filming in, no-one has been bothered where I boarded the plane to get there.

“Of course it is possible to work successfully from Scotland and be a very effective player, based in Scotland, in the network commissions system.”

Wilson is currently exec producing a two-part documentary for BBC Two – with Scollay its producer/director – about Lawrence of Arabia.

He is also working on a six x 50-minute series for BBC One about libel. He was the producer/director on Emmy award-winning The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, presented by broadcaster and writer, Stephen Fry.

Says Wilson of what is a joint venture between the Scots and DCD Media: “Matchlight is a fantastic opportunity to play to the strengths and interests of a team of programme makers, who all try to make TV that’s popular but also clever, tackling difficult subjects in interesting and engaging ways. Working together with DCD means that we can achieve this to greater effect than we ever could individually.”

DCD Media is a ‘super-indie’ with over half a dozen subsidiaries including September Film and Prospect Pictures.

The hope is that Matchlight is instantly ideally placed to benefit from broadcasters’ commitment to increasing programming supply from outside of London, not least Scotland.