- Investment in new label marks first major deal for Banijay UK’s Workerbee Group
Workerbee Group is to back brand-new North-East Wales based production label, Ty’r Ddraig. The deal marks the first major production label investment by Workerbee Group since announcing its ambitious expansion plans to invest and forge creative partnerships in the North of England and Wales last year.
Ty’r Ddraig is being set up by Wrexham-native Ben Smith. He will take up the post of Creative Director and will focus on producing high volume popular factual series and features for both UK and international platforms.
An experienced TV creative, Ben has produced programmes out of the North West for over 20 years, working in-house for the BBC and ITV, as well as indies including, Red Sauce, Shiver, True North and Workerbee where he was latterly Head of Development.
In his most recent role as Executive Producer for Red Sauce, Ben oversaw productions from the Manchester base of the Zinc Media label. He was instrumental in its establishment and rapid growth – winning commissions and executive producing series for a range of major broadcasters. This includes the recently announced Legends of Comedy with Lenny Henry for Channel 4, as well as over 200 hours of the Bargain Loving Brits brand for Channel 5 – part of which was the biggest ever order achieved by the Zinc Media group.
Rick Murray, CEO Workerbee Group, said:
“We know what a huge talent Ben is so jumped at the opportunity to invest in his Welsh label. Traditionally, Cardiff has attracted the most investment, but with its strong links to the fast-growing TV industry in the North West of England, it feels like North East Wales is ready to have its moment in the limelight. Supporting emerging, out of London companies was what the Workerbee Group was set up to do and this is the first of many deals to do just that.”
Ben Smith added:
“The idea of building something so significant in my hometown is a lifelong dream. Our goal is to work with the existing local production community and higher education to build an indie North East Wales can be proud of. From the get-go we have plans to establish a number of apprenticeships at Ty’r Ddraig, training local talent in production, audio and post. I can’t wait to get going with our exciting slate of new ideas and to start producing factual programmes for the widest possible audience. We also have a number of soon-to-be announced collaborations on network series with local companies in the region.”
Patrick Holland, CEO Banijay UK said:
“The Growth Fund is all about empowering talent, and backing a great talent like Ben as he builds his base in North Wales, makes enormous strategic and creative sense.”