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Len Blavatnik, Danny Cohen’s Access Ent. Backs Bad Wolf (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 3/27/2017 Leo Barraclough
© Provided by Variety

Access Entertainment, led by former director of BBC Television Danny Cohen and owned by billionaire industrialist Len Blavatnik, has taken a 24.9% stake in Bad Wolf, the production company behind the forthcoming TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s epic “His Dark Materials.”

Bad Wolf was launched in 2015 by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, former BBC drama executives responsible for “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood” and “Da Vinci’s Demons.” The company, which has the support of the Welsh government and is co-sited in South Wales and Los Angeles, produces high-end TV and film for the global television market.

“This investment by Access Entertainment provides Bad Wolf with further support to fast-track its already burgeoning scripted productions and grow its business globally,” according to a statement.

In addition to “His Dark Materials,” Bad Wolf is also in the midst of producing “A Discovery of Witches,” based on the bestselling novels by Deborah Harkness, and an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s “Warlord Chronicles,” alongside original scripts from “some of the most respected writers in the industry.”

Tranter, chief executive of Bad Wolf, said: “This investment is a fantastic endorsement of our vision for Bad Wolf and the Welsh government’s strategy for the industry. Access Entertainment is a bold and ambitious company who share our appetite for drama of scale. Joining forces with Len Blavatnik and Danny Cohen was absolutely central to our decision. We have had a long and productive relationship with Danny over the years, and Len is a true visionary who immediately understood what Bad Wolf stands for.”

Blavatnik, founder and chairman of Access Entertainment’s parent company Access Industries, said: “We established Access Entertainment to work with the world’s best creative talent and support them in realizing their ambitions. We are delighted to partner with the Bad Wolf team at this critical stage in their development.”

Cohen, president of Access Entertainment, said: “I’m very excited to be forming this new partnership with Bad Wolf. Jane and Julie are brilliant television executives, highly creative and with an appetite for projects of global scale and impact. I’m very confident that Bad Wolf will produce outstanding work in the coming years, and we are looking forward to going on this journey with them.”

The architect of the partnership with Access Entertainment was Bad Wolf’s chief operating officer Miles Ketley, who has been with the company since its early days. On completion of the deal and the first phase of Bad Wolf, he will step down to become a partner in a new media investment firm.

At the helm of the BBC’s drama division, Tranter and Gardner, together with Russell T. Davies, relaunched “Doctor Who” and created “Torchwood.” They subsequently moved to Los Angeles to head up BBC Worldwide Productions, where they produced three seasons of historical drama “Da Vinci’s Demons” for Starz and Fox.

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