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U.K. Broadcaster Channel 4 Backs Big Deal Films, Producers of ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Manori Ravindran
·3-min read

U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 has invested in Dhanny Joshi (pictured, right) and Thomas Stogdon’s (left) Big Deal Films as part of its Indie Growth Fund portfolio.

Initially formed as a talent management company, Big Deal Films has grown its ranks and set up shop in recent years as a fully fledged production outfit specializing in factual, factual entertainment and scripted content. The company, which struck a first-look deal with BBC Studios in 2019, has worked with all the major U.K. broadcasters, including the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV and Sky.

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“When we started the company, I was a manager first and there weren’t any production companies I could call upon at that time that really understood diverse talent or gave them the opportunity,” Joshi tells Variety. “We had our hand forced to create a production company to do that for our clients.”

Big Deal is currently producing “Dreaming Whilst Black,” which is billed as the BBC’s first Black comedy drama. The project is believed to be set up tonally as a British version of FX series “Atlanta.” The outfit also has a comedy development deal in place with Sky Studios. The Channel 4 investment, which is a minority stake, doesn’t affect the Sky Studios or BBC Studios deals.

Caroline Murphy, head of the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund, said: “Dhanny and Thomas are both incredibly talented individuals with ambitions to make disruptive and distinctive content that showcase new talent and voices that better reflect the world around us. We are excited to be working with them to realize these ambitions and to establish Big Deal Films as a creative powerhouse.”

Joshi, managing director of Big Deal Films, said: “We have been fortunate to produce for some of the most exciting British talent and tell some of the most needed-to-hear stories. We are delighted the Growth Fund have recognized our work and potential. We look forward to building from here.”

With a background in TV and branded development, Big Deal Films creative director Thomas Stogdon now steers the creative output at Big Deal Films, including titles such as the BAFTA and Broadcast-nominated doc “This Is My Life: Boys to Men” and the forthcoming Channel 5 series “The Greatest Toys of All Time.” His writing on BBC Three comedy “Coconut” received a Debut Writer nomination at the Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Awards, and he has also been selected as a MipTV Producer to Watch.

Stogdon said: “Partnering with the Growth Fund will allow us to think bigger than ever before and will enable us to amplify the stories and projects we are truly passionate about.”

Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund supports the U.K. creative sector by taking minority stakes in businesses to help them reach the next stage in their development. The fund’s future strategy is prioritizing investment in the Nations and Regions, diverse-led and digital businesses across the country.

Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn’s Lightbox recently exited the fund, as revealed by Variety. However, since September 2020, the fund has invested in three other companies: Proper Content, Yeti and Uplands Television

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