“One Day” producers Drama Republic have restructured their C-suite, Variety can reveal, upping chief creative officer Jude Liknaitzky to co-CEO alongside Roanna Benn. Benn’s former co-CEO, Greg Brenman, will take on a co-founder role.
Brenman will continue to stay involved in the growth and development of the company with a focus on his own slate of projects.
Brenman, Benn and Liknaitzky founded London-based Drama Republic, which specializes in high-end drama, in 2013 after the trio left Tiger Aspect. Drama Republic is part of the Mediawan group, with the French conglomerate taking a majority stake in 2021.
Drama Republic is known for a variety of high-profile scripted projects including “My Mad Fat Diary” by Tom Bidwell, Mike Bartlett’s “Doctor Foster” and “Wanderlust” by Nick Payne. The company is currently working on a new adaption of David Nicholls’ “One Day” for Netflix, with Bafta-winner Nicole Taylor as showrunner.
“We are thrilled to be taking the helm at Drama Republic,” Benn and Liknaitzky said in a statement. “As co-collaborators we have aimed to make shows that have something vital to say about the human condition, as well as being gripping and entertaining, and that will be our ongoing mission.”
Brenman said: “As we celebrate ten years of Drama Republic it feels like an optimum time to be taking the company into this new phase. With Roanna and Jude as joint CEO’s I am confident that Drama Republic will go from strength to strength. I look forward to dedicating more time to a slate of diverse and exciting projects at Drama Republic.”
CEO of Mediawan Pictures Elisabeth d’Arvieu added: “Greg, Roanna and Jude have established Drama Republic as a renowned multi award-winning company, with an exceptional creative vision and incredible premium series. We, at Mediawan, adore working with them and the appointment of Jude to co-CEO is the perfect continuation of the strategy that they have developed since they created Drama Republic. Mediawan is thrilled to accompany and share their vision in this key territory and build together this new era to develop exciting projects.”
To mark the restructure, Benn and Liknaitzky sat down with Variety to discuss the company’s past, present and future.
Drama Republic has just celebrated ten years. How have you found the first decade?
Benn: It’s so amazing to have our own company and to have that autonomy and to be able to pursue projects that we really love for no other reason than that we love them. It’s been really incredible. We’ve just been very busy, working across the channels, making work that we really loved with people that we really loved. And it’s been a really creative and exciting time. Obviously a major thing in that time is that we have joined up with Mediawan. We feel as liberated as we did [before]; they have genuinely been incredible partners for us.
Why was this the right time for Jude to move up to co-CEO?
Benn: Well, it was always the plan, that Jude would ascend to joint CEO. She’s incredible. And Greg felt it was the right time for him to move sideways, to concentrate on his slate of projects and to enable Jude to fill the more senior role as joint CEO. Jude and I have been working very much as a duo across some key projects over the last ten years – “My Mad Fat Diary,” “Doctor Foster,” “Wanderlust” and now “One Day” – so it’s a very natural partnership, both creatively and also in the running of the company.
Jude, how much will what you do day to day change with this move?
Liknaitzky: Not massively. Although it’s always a good opportunity, restructures like this, to assess how things are running. Ro and I have got exciting plans for some things that we want to do within the company in terms of our team here. We really want to encourage younger members of the team to lead projects and we want to enable people to do stuff. We’re running the company, but also our primary role is obviously working on projects, exec-ing shows, and developing and working with new writers as well.
What do you see as a typical Drama Republic project?
Liknaitzky: I think we always try to go for very bold stories. It’s always writer-led. When we’re making a show we want to deliver the vision of that writer and that is our primary focus. And obviously help them to make it whatever they want to be successful and reach as wide an audience as possible. But I think we really love different voices and different stories from “My Mad Fat Diary,” which was about a teenage girl with mental health issues and having a lead protagonist who wasn’t your traditional lead character, to a show like “Wanderlust” about polyamory. So we really strive to tell new and different stories, but ones that are incredibly universal as well and that people can relate to.
How did the new adaptation of “One Day” come about?
Benn: David’s a long term friend and collaborator of ours. We’ve made other shows with him. It’s absolutely a passion project. The book was very much a part of our lives when it came out. Obviously there was a film made [in 2011], but the book takes place over 20 years and the chapters, if you were to dramatize them, would be different lengths. And so all of a sudden, we’re living in an age where you can make a show like that. And so every episode is a year on from the next episode. So the way that television has changed has enabled us to tell the story in the way that we felt would optimise the best interpretation of the book, it just felt like the right time. So we talked to David and said, “Please trust us with the book, we’d really love to make it for now.”
Having reached the ten-year milestone, will the company be moving in any new direction, for example into features?
Benn: Films are something Netflix and streamers are really up for.
Liknaitzky: We’re sort of thinking it’s now a new opportunity. And we are developing a film at the moment.
How do you see the company evolving over the next ten years more generally?
Liknaitzky: We just want to respond to the market at the moment. I think the quality of drama now is so high, and such amazing big shows are being made, and I think we want to continue what we’re doing but reach those heights as well. We want to continue to support newer writers to do really big shows. We also want to grow people within our company as well. We’re a good size, Drama Republic. We don’t have plans to become massively huge. We want to be making more quality shows with our writers that we love.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.