With many years’ experience in television, Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner are well-versed in drama. The former BBC television executives also understand the dramatic impact the Welsh landscape has on screen. It is one of the reasons they decided to set up Bad Wolf, their own production company, in Los Angeles and South Wales.
“There were clear professional reasons to choose Wales, including the attitude of the crews and their spirit,” says Tranter. “Also, the range of landscapes offered. On top of that was the personal journey that Julie and I had been on together, starting with Doctor Who in Wales.”
The pair, along with writer Russell T Davies, were the driving force behind resurrecting the sci-fi series in 2004 and also created Torchwood. Both shows were produced by BBC Wales and filmed in Cardiff.
Their success has given birth to a thriving film and TV production industry that stretches across South Wales. In 2009, Tranter and Gardner moved to Los Angeles to join BBC Worldwide, where they were responsible for shows that garnered 10 Emmy nominations between them, such as Dancing With The Stars, Life Below Zero, Getting On and The Night Of. “We knew the crew and locations in Wales are unbeatable and we are very happy with Welsh Government,” says Gardner. “They can see what can be achieved in terms of job creation. They understand TV and have worked with us on a business plan that allows the company to be creatively free.”
She believes having a devolved government in Cardiff Bay has helped to drive forward the growth of creative industries. “It gives industry a more personal experience because you are dealing with a smaller group of people,” she adds. Gardner notes the Welsh TV industry has come a long way since she started, when there were a handful of successful regional TV productions, but not many that made it to the national stage. “There were very few dramas from Wales with a firm foothold on network television,” she says. “Now dramas shot in Wales have a significant life both nationally and internationally.”
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