Bad Wolf

Origins

Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner established Bad Wolf in August 2015 with a mission to bring the world to South Wales and South Wales to the world. They had worked heavily in Wales since 2003 when as BBC Drama Commissioner, Jane decided to bring Doctor Who to Cardiff and film five seasons with Julie as Head of Drama for BBC Wales. This resulted in around £60m being invested into drama and making Doctor Who the trailblazer that led to the BBC making Torchwood, Atlantis, Sherlock and many other TV dramas in Wales. In 2008 Jane and Julie were asked to move out to Los Angeles to run BBC Worldwide Productions, making over a thousand hours of television during their time there. The first major drama that they made whilst in the US was Da Vinci’s Demons which, after scouting countries all over the world, they decided to film at Bay Studios in Swansea. It was because they believed in Wales, its production community, its creative community and its brilliant crew that they were convinced that the American dollar would get better value from Wales that anywhere else in the world. It was this belief that, when thinking of a home for their new production company, motivated them to start their business in Wales. This absolutely meant a head office in Wales, not in central London like most independent production companies. They wanted to be based where their productions are and to be where the crews live. Wales, with its talented, energised and down to earth people, its wonderful spaces and locations was the major motivation for starting the business. A major challenge that faced the company was finding adequate studio space to house its productions. And a solution was found by building over 125,000 square feet of studio space at the old Nippon glass factory just off Ocean Way in Cardiff.

Success Factor

The three key factors behind Bad Wolf’s success to date are a strong development slate including His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches; having its studio enabling the business to hire talented, skilled, local crew; and investment from Access, HBO and Sky as well as the willingness of the Welsh Government to provide a commercial loan.

The Future

Growing from a turnover of £1.8 million in 2016 to a turnover of £50.3 million in 2018, Bad Wolf is a small boutique company with a significant and ambitious tv production slate. To deliver its ambitious plan, it will need to increase resources in a focused and targeted way to ensure small experienced teams can deliver outputs against key projects and to do this, Bad Wolf has two distinct aims for the next five years. The first is namely faster/higher recoupment; where rights can be retained by Bad Wolf. By doing this the slate will fulfil its editorial ambitions, deliver to its partners who want success in producing shows that are high budget, global and of scale; and deliver the business long term income, through productions that Bad Wolf controls rights. The second is developing shows aimed at global marketplace that are made in Wales and increasing resources will require the recruitment of experienced senior TV production executives to relocate to Cardiff, furthering the development of the industry in Wales as a whole.