Article taken from the  Broadcast Indie Survey, 23rd March 2012

A stunning year for Left Bank helps the  Mad Dogs  producer knock perennial favourites Kudos and Wall to Wall into second place with a string of popular drama series for  bbc,  itv  and Sky

Zen  might be no more, but  Left Bank  has been riding high in 2011, leapfrogging drama rivals Kudos and Company Pictures – which slips out of our top 10 – thanks to some bold, internationally focused dramas for  bbc,  itv  and Sky.  Broadcast’s  2011 Independent Producer of the Year certainly kept up the momentum over the course of the year.

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Loving Miss Hatto, a single drama for BBC One written by Victoria Wood and starring Francesca Annis and Alfred Molina has been announced by BBC One Controller Danny Cohen and Controller of Drama Ben Stephenson.

Loving Miss Hatto  charts the incredible story of pianist Joyce Hatto, her relationship with her husband and the controversial recordings that made her famous late in life. Victoria Wood says: “Loving Miss Hatto is a screenplay inspired by the true story of classical pianist Joyce Hatto and her husband Barrie.

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MADIBA – A Six-Part TV Project, Based on Optioned Mandela Books, to Begin Production This Year

Seeking to produce the definitive television project on the life of Nelson Mandela, Out of Africa Entertainment, Blue Ice Films and Left Bank Pictures have begun development on “Madiba” (working title), a landmark six-part miniseries that spotlights the Nobel Peace Prize winner and first black president of South Africa. The production is currently in discussion with a short list of high-profile directors.

The miniseries, whose title, “Madiba,” reflects the tribal clan name by which Mandela has often been known, will take a broad view of the inner passions and outside forces that guided him: from his little-examined relationship with his mother and her impact on his character, to his engagement with political activism, to his imprisonment, his rise within the ANC and Nobel Peace Prize win, and his watershed election as president of South Africa. Producer Kweku Mandela said that “Madiba” will not be yet another project that paints his grandfather as “Mandela the saint,” but which, for the first time, seeks to truly unravel “Mandela the man” while crediting the many people who were essential in helping shape his journey and success.

Principal photography is scheduled to begin this year, shooting primarily on location in South Africa.

Left Bank’s hit action series STRIKE BACK will return to Sky1 HD and Cinemax in 2012 for a third season of ten new episodes, which will begin shooting in South Africa in early 2012 and air later in the year.

The third series will once again be a co-production between Sky and CINEMAX/HBO and will be produced by Left Bank Pictures. The series was commissioned by Sky’s Head of Drama, Anne Mensah and will be Executive Produced for Sky by Huw Kennair-Jones. Left Bank’s Andy Harries will return as Executive Producer, along with Series Producer Michael Casey and Head of Production Marigo Kehoe.

Two directors from the current series will return to the floor: Bill Eagles (director of episodes 3 and 4 & Beautiful Creatures) will direct four new episodes, Paul Wilmshurst (director of episodes 7 and 8 & Hiroshima) will direct 2 episodes and Tony Saint (writer of episodes 9 and 10, and Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley) will write a number of episodes and co-executive produce.

About the commission, Anne Mensah, Sky’s Head of Drama, said:
“STRIKE BACK has proved to be an incredibly successful brand for Sky1 HD, and our collaboration with HBO/Cinemax made the scale and ambition of the second season even more exciting. The third season is shaping up to be even stronger. We want it to be the most high-octane, action packed drama on British Television.”

Andy Harries, Executive Producer, Left Bank Pictures comments:
“We couldn’t be more excited to be sending our STRIKE BACK operatives back out into the field for round three. The co-production with Sky and HBO/Cinemax has brought an outstanding scale to STRIKE BACK which is rarely attempted on British television. It’s an honour to be partnering with them again for the third series.”

STRIKE BACK’s second season recently transmitted on Sky1 HD and Cinemax, wrapping with the season finale on Sunday October 23.

Series two of STRIKE BACK was the first ever co-production between Sky and HBO/Cinemax. Last year the two pay TV broadcasters also agreed an output deal that saw Sky Atlantic become the exclusive home of HBO programmes in the UK and Ireland.

Due to plot spoilers for upcoming episodes, season three cast will be announced at a later date.

Big Bang Stunts & Effects have been nominated for a Special Effects award at the Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards 2011 for their work on Strike Back: Project Dawn.

Left Bank’s Zen also attracted a nomination for Adrian Johnston in the Original Title Music category.

Winners will be announced on Monday 21st November at The RTS Craft & Design Awards ceremony, at The Savoy, London.

As Strike Back: Project Dawn comes to a close in the US, having received high ratings and outstanding reviews across the board, Philip Winchester & Amanda Mealing reflect on the show’s explosive debut season in the States:

Interview with Philip Winchester & Amanda Mealing & End of Season Review

Philip Winchester & Amanda Mealing tease the next season

Read More Reviews on the season’s finale:
“Many were skeptical when Cinemax ventured into the primetime television game, but its unique venture, the 10-part action drama series “Strike Back,” combines what the network does best — sex — with violence. In other words, it’s every man’s new favorite show.” Read Full Article

“As it (Strike Back)brings its first season to a close, I’m hopeful that the time is right for the word to go out, and that this review (which, I will warn newcomers, will contain extensive spoilers from this point forward) will help draw attention to a really fine piece of pure entertainment that’s aiming for something more than its base appeal.” Read Full Article

“To the surprise of some observers, “Strike Back” has gone on to become one of the best action series on television and a show that is more than just a guilty pleasure on Friday nights.” Read Full Article

Televisual’s annual ranking of the top 100 broadcast production companies in the UK has been released, and we are pleased to announce that Left Bank Pictures have been placed 12th in this year’s rankings!_ Televisual Magazine_ said: “Its been an eventful year for Left Bank, one of the UK’s leading drama producers. It picked up a raft of commissions including a third series of BBC1’s acclaimed Wallander, a full series of DCI Banks for ITV and second series orders for Sky’s Strike Back and Mad Dogs. Left Bank’s Rufus Sewell starrer Zen ran on BBC 1 to positive reviews, but was cancelled by Danny Cohen.

MD Marigo Kehoe says the business climate over the last 12 months has been “tough with lots of international co-production,” but the outlook for the indie “feels much more positive than last year”. With a top 10 packed with super-indies (All3Media, Endemol, TalkBack, Shine, Shed, Avalon etc) a move up the ranks from 18th (2010) proves an impressive year for Left Bank.

We are delighted to announce that Zen has been shortlisted for ‘The TV Dagger’ at this year’s Specsaver’s Crime Thriller Awards. Rufus Sewell has also been nominated in the ‘Best Actor’ category.

“The Daggers”, an award shown with a 50-year history, will be taking place on Friday 7th October 2011 at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, and will be broadcast on ITV3 in a prime time slot.

Strike Back II: Project Dawn, currently airing on HBO Cinemax, has received great reviews accross the board by US critics:

“Action Series combines the violence of ‘24′ with humor of ‘Lethal Weapon” New York Post, August 11

“When these guys take on terrorists, feel bad for the terrorist”. New York Post, August 11

“In between the terrorist threats, plenty of time for hanky-panky” New York Times, August 11

“Fans of ‘24’… still ask me how to fill that void… Until ‘Strike back’, I didn’t have any answers. Now I do.” The Washington Post, August ’11

“If something has been missing from your TV screen since ‘24′ went off the air, like an unapologetic, fist-pumping, non-stop action thriller with compellingly good guys and loathsome bad guys the new “Strike Back” needs to be your appointment television for the next 10 weeks.” NY Daily News

Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The lady by Luc Besson, written by Rebecca Frayn and starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival on the 12th September.