French TV company behind BBC Two's Versailles to invest €50m into UK drama with new fund

 
William Turvill
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As well as proving a popular BBC Two show, Versailles has attracted tabloid attention for some of its steamy scenes (Source: BBC)

The French production and distribution company behind BBC show Versailles has today launched a €50m (£42m) fund to invest in UK drama.

Newen Group’s distribution arm will target acquisitions of high-end scripted series from UK production companies.

Read more: Production company behind BBC's "steamy" Versailles plans UK expansion

The company said it would be seeking to “partner on three to four outstanding scripted series, both returning and mini-series”.

The investment will be supported by the international sales presence from Newen’s Paris headquarters, as well as a new London office focusing on UK content partnerships.

Currently, Newen’s most famous programme in the UK is Versailles. As well as proving popular on BBC Two, the show has attracted a large amount of tabloid attention for its steamy sex scenes. Mail Online reported last month: “Ooh la la! Versailles courtiers go nude for VERY racy orgy scenes as series two of the controversial BBC drama kicks off... and this season is more explicit than ever”.

Read more: ITV snaps up French drama production company

“We all know the challenges distributors face in funding the best drama in the UK market,” said Newen Distribution managing director Malika Abdellaoui.

“We believe that it is the perfect time to be proactive in the UK, offering producers cash at an early stage, rapid decision-making and privileged access to major continental European markets, as well as our strong worldwide trading relationships.”

City A.M. revealed last July that Newen was seeking expansion in the UK. In an interview, the company’s chief executive, Fabrice Larue, said: “I am here to continue the development of Newen Network, either by opening a new office to increase our business activities, or by finding new partners, or by acquisition.”

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