BBC Studios Buys ‘Surviving Summer,’ ‘The Newsreader’ Producer Werner Film in Australia

BBC Studios Productions Australia has acquired Melbourne, Australia-based Werner Film Productions, the production firm behind such drama series as The Newsreader, which airs on Australian broadcaster ABC and the BBC, and Netflix’s Surviving Summer.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but it is the latest takeover of a production company by BBC Studios. “The deal marks a significant investment by BBC Studios Productions Australia in the local production industry and provides Werner Film Productions with the backing of one of the world’s biggest global distributors as it continues to grow its production of drama series for Australian and global audiences,” the companies said.

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Werner Film Productions will continue to be led by company director Joanna Werner and managing director Stuart Menzies and will operate alongside BBC Studios’ local production arm as an independent label, with both companies producing their own projects. “This model replicates the way that BBC Studios works with many of its other production labels and invested indies in the U.K. and globally, supporting some of the world’s leading creative companies and talent,” said the commercial arm of the U.K. public broadcaster.

Werner Film is currently in production on the third season of The Newsreader, created by Michael Lucas and starring Anna Torv (Mindhunter) and Sam Reid (Prime Suspect 1973) as colleagues in an Australian TV newsroom in the 1980s. She is the channel’s star female news anchor, while he is an ambitious young TV reporter.

“Australia has an incredibly vibrant creative community and is producing shows that resonate around the world so it’s a great time to invest further to support our local production industry,” said Kylie Washington, general manager and creative director of BBC Studios Productions Australia. “Jo and Stuart are amongst the best in the business and have a great track record in producing smart, entertaining and engaging dramas that speak to international audiences while remaining quintessentially Aussie.”

Matt Forde, managing director, global entertainment at BBC Studios Productions, added: “Their passion and creativity has seen them carve out a place as one of the most talented and interesting scripted companies in the world.”

Said Werner: “Working with BBC Studios will help us continue to tell Australian stories on a larger canvas for audiences here and around the world.”

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