Drama Republic was set-up in January 2013 by long-term colleagues Greg Brenman and Roanna Benn, who had spent 18 years together at Tiger Aspect Productions. Greg says the company was “incredibly fortunate” to hit the ground running with two productions – Hugo Blick’s international drama, The Honourable Woman starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, alongside season two of My Mad Fat Diary for E4, a co-production with Greg’s old company Tiger Aspect.
“As an eight-hour co production with BBC and Sundance TV, shot over 20 weeks in UK and Morocco, The Honourable Woman was actually one of the most ambitious projects we, as producers, have ever undertaken,” says Greg. Drama Republic is now in pre-production on two new projects for BBC1: Dr Foster, a five-hour serial written by Mike Bartlett and an adaptation of J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls.
Lights, camera, action!
One of the most significant challenges was going from being a company that wanted to produce drama to being one that actually did,” says Greg, who explains that it was important to move from development to production as quickly as possible. “Thankfully we succeeded on that front so we were able to bring in revenue and achieve credibility at an early stage in our corporate development.”
Thrilled by the reception The Honourable Woman has received from audiences and critics, Greg says the drama has made some “very healthy” sales and is now transmitting around the world. It also recently won ‘Best Foreign Drama Series’ at La Rochelle TV Festival. “We keep our fingers crossed that it continues to be well received.”
Growing the company “Now a company of eight, we are growing every day,” says Greg. “We have a very focused slate that we believe provides broadcasters, here and abroad, with material that will excite them. We aim to become a leading UK producer of quality drama.”
Above everything else, Greg says the company prizes its relationships with writers and creators of content. “It’s important for us to make the right choices and develop projects which play to our strengths and broadcasters want to buy.”
A helping hand from Shipleys
Shipleys has been working with Drama Republic from the beginning, helping to set up and run the company, and providing recent assistance with tax credit applications.
“Shipleys has been an incredible bedrock of support and guidance,” says Greg. “Sitting at the heart of the industry, we feel that Shipleys is always in pole position to offer the best advice.”