EXCLUSIVE: Crime star Dougray Scott and Buccaneer Media, the Scottish police drama’s producer, have hired a Creative Director for Buccaneer Scotland, as it seeks to supercharge the scale of its productions in the Celtic country.
The Lighthouse development chief Neil Duncan hired to run Buccaneer Scotland slate as Creative Director, focusing on showcasing Scottish literary, acting and behind the camera talent through its worldwide operations and partnerships.
Scott and Buccaneer teamed to launch Buccaneer Scotland in November 2021, with Mission Impossible 2 star Scott taking an equity stake in the business. He had moved back in Scotland after a long period living in the U.S. to film Crime and will be joint CEO of Buccaneer Scotland alongside Buccaneer Media bosses Richard Tulk-Hart and Tony Wood.
Wood, the veteran drama producer and co-creator of The Only Way is Essex, noted big budget U.S. productions such as Starz’s Outlander had greatly improved the skills base for high-end dramas in Scotland, and said this gave Duncan and Buccaneer Scotland a great footing to further the legacy.
“American productions have come in and trained up exceptional crews, but you need to spread them more widely across the landscape there and for us it’s an opportunity to build on what Outlander has achieved,” he said.
Buccaneer Scotland boss Duncan joins from The Lighthouse, which is producing upcoming Netflix feature Scoop. We first told you about that project, which is a dramatisation of the car-crash Prince Andrew interview on the BBC back in July 2022. Duncan has held his Head of Development role at the company since 2020. Before that, he was held a similar role at BBC Studios Drama London.
Duncan began his career at the BBC as a script editor on EastEnders before becoming story producer on UK-produced drama such as Fortitude, New Tricks, Strike Back and Ackley Bridge. As a series producer, his credits include Endeavour, Clique and Skins. He was Head of Development for BBC Scotland Drama for two years and is now moving back to Scotland for the new role.
“Buccaneer’s writer-led approach and commitment to telling bold, ambitious stories from Scotland feels like the perfect fit,” said Neil Duncan, Creative Director of Buccaneer Scotland. “I can’t wait to get started, and am looking forward to building on Buccaneer’s existing reputation as a home for creative talent north of the border.”
Wood said Duncan is a “heavyweight” with a “great reputation with writers, who respect him,” adding: “To return someone like that to Scotland with infrastructure feels like a major move. He feels he has an opportunity to get the bit between his teeth and make a difference in that landscape.”
Scott, Tulk-Hart and Wood also issued a joint statement, saying: “Having built a strong foundation for the company we feel we are now in a great position to bring established and emerging Scottish talent to the market that will showcase a stream of ideas and content that feel fresh and exciting.
“The industry is going through a period of fundamental change but it is our strong belief that strength of voice and originality will remain the cornerstone of keeping audiences entertained, wherever that voice originates from. At Buccaneer we are here to amplify those voices and push boundaries.”
Buccaneer is best known for Irvine Welsh’s Crime, the ITVX drama series from Trainspotting author Welsh starring Scott as a trouble Edinburgh cop, along with ITV and Netflix’s Marcella and Acorn TV’s Whitsable Pearl. Upcoming series include Paramount+ UK dramas The Burning Girls and The Doll Factory and season 2 of Crime, the latter of which forms part of the Buccaneer Scotland slate.
“We have international reach and you see that with shows coming up,” added Tulk-Hart, the former A+E international distribution boss. “We can deliver shows on that level, whether they’re from Scotland or England. Tried and tested production companies give confidence to commissioners who might well be taking less risk in coming months. When it comes to U.S. they don’t care where a writer is from but they do care that there is a good piece of writing and producer who can deliver on it.”
Buccaneer Scotland’s slate comprise shows such as upcoming Irvine Welsh six-parter The Blade Artist, based on his 2016 novel and marking the first time the Trainspotting film franchise will be adapted for TV. The series will star Robert Carlyle reprising his role as the psychopathic anti-hero Francis Begbie.
The company has also projects in paid development and has struck a deal with author Jenni Fagan to adapt her novels The Panopticon and Luckenbooth for TV.
We understand the slate is currently about 10% the size of that of Buccaneer Media in London. Tulk-Hart noted all of the company’s series to date have returned, and said the Scottish would look to replicate this success, using a returnable scripted show as a “great school environment” for training up more writers, producers and crew in Scotland.
Tulk-Hart told Deadline Buccaneer Media, which is a partnership with Canada’s Cineflix, had “quadrupled its revenues in the past three years,” though he didn’t provide financial figures. However, he called the growth “significant” and noted all of the company’s shows had returned.
“We won’t dwell on what we’ve done,” he said noting that Buccaneer was now “really building to 2025 and 2026, and Scotland will grow as we get things over the line,” adding: “It’s been a rollercoaster in some ways but a healthy rollercoaster.”
The company’s latest drama, The Doll Factory, was one of out Mipcom Hot Ones. The Paramount+ drama is being sold on the Croisette by Cineflix Rights. We first told you about the show, which is adapted from Elizabeth Macneal’s novel, in July 2022. Make sure to read up on it Cannes.
Post Views: 7,116