Winchester launches Pure Fiction Television
June 30, 2022
After almost three and a half years working with film producer David Heyman (Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood, Marriage Story, Harry Potter), Tom Winchester has left his role as President of Heyday Television to set up a new production company, Pure Fiction Television. The company will be creatively and financially autonomous but is founded with minority investment from Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy-winning production company See-Saw Films, and internationally renowned talent agency Hamilton Hodell.
Having spent the last eight years working for major US studios, Winchester was keen to take a maverick approach with his own company by seeking investment from like-minded and financially independent partners, allowing Pure Fiction to remain distributor agnostic and free to find the best homes for each show.
Pure Fiction will be focused on producing prestige commercial content for the British and global markets and will be looking to capitalise on its absence of restrictive overall deals by offering strategic partnerships to those writers, actors and directors seeking a greater say in the development and production of their own work. See-Saw Films will provide business affairs and production support on Pure Fiction’s early productions as they build their company and slate. See-Saw’s COO, Simon Gillis, will take a seat on Pure Fiction’s board.
Winchester said, “At Pure Fiction we want to reflect the changes afoot within our industry by redefining how partnerships work with talent. We believe in celebrating collaboration, so that everyone benefits and we make the best work possible.”
Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films said, “Tom is a clear creative and entrepreneurial force, and we are excited to support him with our resources from See-Saw as Pure Fiction grows.”
Christian Hodell, CEO of Hamilton Hodell, said “My partners and I are delighted to take part in this creative venture. When Tom approached us with this concept and it became clear that he would be collaborating with the brilliant team at See-Saw, we agreed that this was an undeniably attractive proposition. We are particularly excited to create opportunities for our clients through Pure Fiction, but we are also excited for Tom to team up with other creatives throughout the industry. Tom has a bold vision for his company, and we support that.”
The Pure Fiction deal was brokered on behalf of See-Saw by its COO, Simon Gillis. Jeremy Gawade of Lee & Thompson acted for Hamilton Hodell and Michael Brader of Wiggin for Tom Winchester.
As President of Heyday Television, which is owned by NBCUniversal, Winchester hired the London and LA-based teams and oversaw a slate of international dramas including US-set Clickbait, which was one of Netflix’s biggest shows globally in 2021, spending two consecutive months in the No.1 spot on Netflix in America. Winchester also executive produced The Capture, the first series of which was the BBC’s biggest original drama of 2019, with a second series currently in production. This February, Heyday announced a straight-to-series order for Apples Never Fall, the latest novel by Big Little Lies author Lianne Moriarty, at NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Previously Winchester served as a producer on the upcoming FX series Shogun, which is filming in Vancouver and has been described by FX President John Landgraf as their largest international production to date. Before Heyday, Winchester was Creative Director at DNA Films, which produced Alex Garland’s Devs for FX and the BBC’s Black Narcissus.
See-Saw’s recent television output has included Slow Horses for Apple TV+, adapted by Will Smith, directed by James Hawes, and starring Gary Oldman, Jack Lowden and Kristin Scott Thomas, with a second season set to air later this year, directed by Jeremy Lovering, and a further two seasons commissioned; Heartstopper for Netflix, created and written by Alice Oseman, directed by Euros Lyn, starring Kit Connor and Joe Locke, which has been commissioned for a further two seasons; and The Essex Serpent for Apple TV+, adapted by Anna Symon, directed by Clio Barnard and starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston.
The See-Saw group includes in-house sales arm Cross City Films and film and TV financier Fulcrum Media, as well as creator-led joint venture Picking Scabs with writer Sam Strauss (The End), and I Am That with director Garth Davis (Lion), which is currently in production on sci-fi thriller Foe for Amazon Studios.
Hamilton Hodell is a London-based agency representing some of the most respected and sought-after talent in the world, including Naomi Ackie, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Hayley Atwell, Bertie Carvel, Aaron Pierre, Michelle Dockery, Stephen Fry, Rupert Grint, Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston, Vanessa Kirby, Rose Leslie, Matthew Macfadyen, Sophie Okonedo, David Oyelowo, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, Tracey Ullman, Harriet Walter, Anthony Boyle, Ben Whishaw and Ruth Wilson, just to name a few. The management team is comprised of CEO Christian Hodell, Managing Director Christopher Farrar and partners Madeleine Dewhirst, Alexander Cooke, Sian Smyth and India Sinclair.