Wales will not lose out if the expected sale of Cardiff-based TV production company Bad Wolf is finalised, the deputy arts minister has said.

Bad Wolf, the firm behind shows such as His Dark Materials, A Discovery of Witches and Industry, is allegedly on the market – with sector publication Broadcast reporting today that Sony Pictures Television is on the brink of completing the nearly £60million purchase.

The Welsh company’s expected sale has raised questions in the Senedd, where the culture committee has sought assurances Bad Wolf will remain in Wales and not move future productions to lower-cost locations that provide better incentives.

But in a letter sent to the committee this week, Deputy Arts Minister Dawn Bowden said “we do not currently have any reason to believe that the sale will mean Bad Wolf exiting Wales”.

That belief has been bolstered by Bad Wolf itself, which while unable to comment on any potential sale, told The National today that it remained committed to Wales and its “ambitions as a Welsh-based company [are] undiminished”.

In the face of domestic and international competition to lure TV and film projects, Bowden said Wales would hold its own with the type of “attractive” offers that had already drawn Netflix and Disney to film here.

The recent announcement that Bad Wolf would make future series of Doctor Who, when Welsh screenwriter Russell T Davies returns to the helm, provides “some assurances that it will maintain a large proportion of its operations in Wales”, Bowden said in her letter to the Senedd committee, which is due to meet on Wednesday.

Doctor Who has been mainly shot and made here since the show’s revival in 2005, and in 2023 BBC Wales will hand over production duties to Bad Wolf, which also runs Wolf Studios Wales in the capital.

The Senedd committee has also requested clarity on Welsh Government financial support to Bad Wolf. Bowden confirmed the company had received £8.5million of taxpayer money to date. In return, the government estimates Bad Wolf’s production spending has put between £127 million and £133 million into the Welsh economy.

While acknowledging that TV and film production is “inherently mobile”, Bowden said Bad Wolf had “built an industry around itself in Wales” and established a “trusted” network with the wider creative sector. The firm has also provided 56 trainees with work placements over the past four years, as well as another 15 “high-level training” roles for Wales-based trainees on its His Dark Materials project.

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During a recent visit to Wolf Studios Wales, where the third season of the Philip Pullman adaptation is currently being made, Bowden and Bad Wolf co-founder Jane Tranter spoke enthusiastically about the benefits it had brought to Wales’ creative sector.

The deputy minister said the project “enhances our reputation globally as being a region with the crew, skills, studio space and locations that can service a production of this large scale, and clearly aligns with Creative Wales’ long-term strategy”.

Creative Wales is a relatively new Welsh Government agency tasked with strengthening and promoting the nation’s creative industries.

The National Wales: Deputy arts minister Dawn Bowden (centre) and Bad Wolf co-founder Jane Tranter (right) at Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff. Picture: Welsh GovernmentDeputy arts minister Dawn Bowden (centre) and Bad Wolf co-founder Jane Tranter (right) at Wolf Studios Wales in Cardiff. Picture: Welsh Government

During the minister's visit, Tranter said her firm was, with government support, “committed to talent schemes, building a creative community and a sustainable long term production base in Cardiff that has benefits to the whole economy of Wales”.

Speaking to The National today about the deputy minister’s comments and the concerns raised by the Senedd committee, a spokesperson for Bad Wolf moved to give reassurances that the company was and remained “committed to Wales”.

They added: “We are unique amongst the UK independent production sector in housing our company HQ, our productions and studios in Wales. The Bad Wolf commitment over many years to this corner of the UK, has led to a strong, extensive and growing creative and production community now based in and around Cardiff.

“This community is precious to Bad Wolf and helps us to be the best drama producers we can be. Bad Wolf’s ambitions as a Welsh-based company is undiminished.”

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