BBC Studios Productions Australia acquires Surviving Summer production company

Werner will operate alongside BBC Studios’ local production arm as an independent label, with both companies producing their own projects.

BBC Studios Productions Australia has acquired award-winning independent Werner Film Productions, which specialises in the development and production of original drama series, including The Newsreader for ABC, which was also broadcast on the BBC, and Surviving Summer for Netflix.

The deal provides Werner with the backing of one of the world’s biggest global distributors, as it continues to grow its production of drama series for Australian and global audiences. 

Werner will continue to be led by Company Director Joanna Werner and Managing Director Stuart Menzies and will operate alongside BBC Studios’ local production arm as an independent label, with both companies producing their own projects – a model that replicates the way BBC Studios works with many of its other production labels and invested indies in the UK and globally.

Read: The Newsreader Season 2 on ABC review: still a winner

Alongside its slate of projects in development, Werner Film Productions is currently in production on the third series of The Newsreader which has won multiple awards, including 10 AACTAs and two Logies, and became one of the BBC’s most watched dramas when it launched in the UK, as well as ranking fourth in Variety’s list of the best international TV shows of 2022. 

Teen surfing drama Surviving Summer, meanwhile, has picked up a cult audience around the world with this year’s second series spending two weeks in Netflix’s global Top 10. In her review of Season 2 for ScreenHub, Mel Campbell wrote:

It’s best understood as ‘Dance Academy for surfing‘ – a mix of spectacular performance, intense physical and mental pressure, and romantic entanglements among fit teens, soundtracked to pop-music montages.

Surviving Summer Season 2: making all the right waves

Kylie Washington, General Manager and Creative Director of BBC Studios Productions Australia, said: ‘I’m excited to welcome Werner Film Productions into the family. Australia has an incredibly vibrant creative community and is producing shows that resonate around the world so it’s a great time to invest further to support our local production industry.’

Jo Werner, Company Director, Werner Film Productions, said: ‘Working with BBC Studios will help us continue to tell Australian stories on a larger canvas for audiences here and around the world.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites