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In an article published today by Deadline Hollywood, the Managing Directors of Lime Pictures and Lion TV, Kate Little & Claire Poyser, discussed Lime Pictures’ grand international unscripted ambitions for the future. They also talked about the upcoming format Dance Monsters, Lion TV’s Sexy Beasts, and the hire of Jonathan Meenagh, who will assist with modernising Lion’s slate, both for UK & US.

You can read the full article here:



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Co-production for Gutsy Animations’ first hybrid live action/animation series; Jessica Ruston, Kevin Rundle and Phoebe Éclair-Powell attached to write

Gary Carter tapped as a Consultant to spearhead Gutsy Animations’ move into adult-skewing drama

HELSINKI, 7 October 2021. Gutsy Animations, the multi award-winning studio behind the internationally celebrated and Emmy Award-nominated Moominvalley series, is developing its first adult-targeted drama series Beyond Nature and has brought UK production company Lime Pictures (Hollyoaks) on board to co-produce. Currently in development, the 6 x 50’ English-language psychological drama will blend live-action with VFX and CG animation. Gutsy Animations has also attached writers Jessica Ruston (Harlots, Young Wallander), Kevin Rundle (Casualty, EastEnders) and Phoebe Éclair-Powell (Two Weeks to Live, Hollyoaks) to the project.

Additionally, Gutsy Animations has tapped Gary Carter as a Consultant with a remit focused on sales and development, specifically to spearhead the studio’s move into adult-skewing drama with Beyond Nature. Carter has previously held senior creative and leadership positions at Endemol, Fremantle, Shine and Endemol Shine.

Based on Katariina Souri’s novel Pohjan Kosketus, Beyond Nature is created by Gutsy Animations’ Chief Creative Officer and Founder, Marika Makaroff and Paavo Westerberg (‘The Violin Player’). The series is set to be shot between England and Lapland.  

The innovative, powerful psychological drama will follow Stella, a young Finno-British artist, as she searches for her true self, and her family past. Set against the ancient magical traditions and wilderness of the far North, and the urban landscapes of Britain, the drama explores the alienation of humans from the natural world of which we are all part.

When Stella leaves the UK and returns to her family roots in Finland to sell her childhood home, the fabric of her inner life begins to shift and change. She experiences visions which seem connected to the vast, ancient natural landscape of Lapland and its mythological past, and which invade her art. Predictions, or perhaps warnings, propel Stella into unravelling a dark mystery in which to survive, she must confront, and connect with, her true nature.

Beyond Nature is a project like no other – the mix of Stella’s real world and her haunting visions, combined with the contrasting settings of an industrial English city and a remote Lapland village, make this a truly distinctive series,” says Marika Makaroff. “It’s a pitch-perfect project with which to extend our reach into non-kids’ drama and we are very happy to be partnering with Lime Pictures and such a talented team of writers to bring it to life. Tackling themes of sisterhood; family secrets; hidden memories; mental instability; and nature – both human and environmental – Beyond Nature promises to be both a challenging and compelling watch.”

Lime Pictures’ Managing Directors, Kate Little and Claire Poyser, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Gutsy Animations to bring such a gripping, atmospheric and breathtakingly visual series to screen.”

Gutsy Animations, founded in 2016 by awarded creator, Marika Makaroff, is a Finnish production house that creates high quality content for the international market. The company’s flagship production, multi award-winning Moominvalley, has a record-high of 16 million starts on Yle’s streaming platform in Finland. The third season of Moominvalley has recently received the Albert certification, a mark of sustainability demonstrating how Gutsy managed and reduced its environmental impact during production.


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Lime Pictures announces a TV option deal with Hachette Children’s Group [HCG] for Planet Omar from award winning author Zanib Mian. 

Karen Lawler, Head of Licensed Content at Hachette Children’s Group, signed the deal with Tim Compton and Angelo Abela at Lime Pictures.

Lime Pictures will be working closely with Zanib Mian and producer Sajid Varda, founder of UK Muslim Film and co-Chair of the BFI’s Screen Advisory Group, to adapt the series of well-loved children’s books.

When Omar has to move to a new house and a new school, he finds himself an accidental magnet for all sorts of trouble. From trying to escape a school bully to saving a mosque and avoiding a possible alien invasion, Omar and his friends are in for lots of adventures – and a few rescue missions.

Commenting on the deal, Karen Lawler said: ‘Planet Omar is a hilarious series with incredible heart, and it has been a joy to publish. The series has been a great success for HCG, with a World Book Day book this year and a growing number of translation publishers on board. We are thrilled to have secured a TV partner like Lime, who are so committed to faithfully capturing Omar’s spirit on screen and collaborating closely with Zanib.’

 Zanib Mian added: ‘I’m incredibly excited for Lime to bring Omar to the screen. Muslim lead characters in children’s TV have been so rare. When children see themselves represented they feel a beautiful message of belonging and being understood. The stories told through Omar and his family and friends will be enjoyable and relatable to every child. Everyone playing a part in making Planet Omar into a TV series should be very proud!’

Sajid Varda said: ‘This is an incredible milestone for Muslim representation in children’s programming.  I have been a fan of Zanib’s work for many years and the Planet Omar series is a firm favourite with my children.  I am both excited and proud to be developing this series for TV and working alongside Lime Pictures who are leading the way in bringing richer and more diverse stories to our screens.’ 

 Tim Compton and Angelo Abela, Heads of Kids & Family, Lime Pictures said: ‘Omar is a really special lead character; a sparky, impulsive kid with a huge imagination and a hilarious knack for attracting trouble while he’s trying to be good. Zanib has crafted a beautiful portrayal of a Muslim family and we are truly excited at the prospect of bringing Omar and his world to the screen.’



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Lion Television is taking a big step into the gaming world as it partners with Xbox Game Studios’ World’s Edge Studio and Relic Entertainment for the next chapter in the epic real-time strategy game, Age of Empires IV.

Age of Empires IV has drawn upon Lion’s expertise in making top factual shows to produce 50 short films, creating an integral narrative throughout the latest version of this critically acclaimed and award-winning game series.

Lion’s micro-documentaries – executive produced by Bill Locke and directed by Stuart Elliott, Mike Loades and Ian Hunt – are spectacular mix of live-action blended with computer graphics cinematics, allowing players to immerse themselves fully in the experiences and challenges of building successful empires in the ancient world.

Age of Empires IV is due for release on Oct. 28, 2021.

Lion TV announce brand new BBC Daytime commission

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Lion TV Scotland are delighted to announce a new commission, Virtually Home, for BBC Daytime.

Virtually Home is a 15 x 45 minute series, exploring the cutting edge, interior design world and featuring people stuck in a design rut. The show will use virtual reality (VR) to help people with modest budgets avoid making expensive interior design mistakes. The series will showcase a diverse variety of projects across the UK, and will allow the contributors to truly visualise their dream designs in spectacular VR, before implementing them in actual reality.

The series will feature four of the UK’s leading interior designers – Karen Livingstone Welstead who lives in Glasgow, Russell Sage based in Somerset, Kunal Trehan in Cheshire and Simon Hamilton from London. Each will be matched with members of the public who either have different styles and ideas for a room make over from each other or are conflicted themselves with which way to turn.

Each episode will see the designers offer up two distinct VR designs from the Edinburgh based studio. Once the contributor decides which design they will go ahead with, they will capture the progress of the makeover in video diaries until the result is revealed to the designer at the end of the episode.

Virtually Home is a Lion TV production for BBC One, and will be produced in Scotland. The Executive Producer is Lisa Hazlehurst and the Series Producer is Mat Marsters. The Commissioning Editor is Muslim Alim for BBC Daytime.



It was announced today that Celebs Go Virtual Dating, which aired on E4 back in July 2020, has been nominated at the C21 International Format Awards, in the Best Brand Driven Format category.

Celebs Go Virtual Dating brought a new flair to the well-loved format where four single celebrities join an exclusive dating agency and are matched by the highly regarded dating agents Paul C. Brunson and Anna Williamson with ordinary people in a bid to find true love. This time the dates went virtual as the celebrities dated through video calls to adhere to social distancing in 2020. The show attracted an average 233,000 viewers with a 1.6% share, 8% above E4’s slot average. It ranked second in its timeslot amongst multi channels for Adults 16-34, behind Family Guy on ITV2. This format has been popular internationally, with shows commissioned successfully in Germany and Belgium.

With changing COVID 19 regulations, the team delivered all filming equipment to each contributor’s home, talking them through the set up to ensure they captured their action of their virtual dates, with Lime’s team directing them remotely. Of course, with a new dating landscape came specific concerns around virtually dating, with a number finding it a lot harder than meeting in real life.

Alongside the show Lime Pictures Press and Digital team’s also ran an expansive campaign, with the show trending on Twitter and generating 3.28 million views across E4, Celebs Go Dating and talent’s social media.  The show delivered 1.6% share, 8% above E4’s slot average and it ranked second in its timeslot amongst multichannels for Adults 16-34. The show went on to deliver a 4.5% share of viewing amongst Adults 16-34, exceeding benchmark by 33%.


Lucy Allan, who has executive produced acclaimed youth and children’s shows will leave her current senior BBC position to join Lime Pictures.

Hollyoaks Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood to Step Down at End of Year

Hollyoaks’ longest serving Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood announces he is stepping down from role at the end of the soap’s 25th anniversary year.

Award winning Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood has announced he is leaving the C4 soap Hollyoaks, after a second stint as showrunner.

Bryan told Lime Pictures MDs in March of his intention to depart at the end of 2020. His episodes will remain on screen until June 2021.

In October Hollyoaks will celebrate its 25th birthday after first airing on October 23rd 1995.

Bryan, who created many of the show’s most popular and enduring characters including the McQueen family, has been behind the show’s most groundbreaking storylines and award wins.

Bryan said of his departure: “For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience.

“I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives and in recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from...

“It has also been a joy to deliver the plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks’, stories that give our viewers an entertaining escape into a heightened world.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and I want to thank the entire team. Their talent, warmth, loyalty and friendship are why I stayed so long.”

“The 25th anniversary feels like an elegant time to hand the reins over to someone else but I’m confident that the beating heart of Hollyoaks – the people who make it - will keep the show around for another 25 years.” Lime Pictures MDs - Claire Poyser and Kate Little - added: “Bryan’s passion for creating gloriously soapy characters that take fans from laughter to tears in a heartbeat, a rich imagination for nurturing compelling plot busters and his unwavering commitment to tell groundbreaking issue led stories mark him out as an outstanding Executive Producer of Hollyoaks.

“This has been rightly reflected in the multitude of awards that the series has secured throughout his tenure at Lime. We would like to thank him for his dedication, care and commitment to the show throughout the last eight years.”

During his tenure Bryan has also been lauded for his commitment to raising awareness of mental health and LGBTQ+ issues, leading Stonewall to award Hollyoaks: ‘Broadcast of the decade’ and the MIND Media ‘Making a Difference’ Award.

Across 2018 to 2020, Hollyoaks was awarded with six Best Soap and Continuing Drama awards. These included being recognised twice by Broadcast plus the Royal Television Society, The British Soap Awards, Inside Soap magazine and the Digital Spy Reader Awards.

Ian Katz, C4 Director of Programmes, said: “Bryan has been the untiring creative force behind the extraordinary resurgence of Hollyoaks. He’s taken the show into new territory with some extraordinarily brave storylines and soap firsts and collected numerous awards.

“I’m immensely grateful for his steering of the show safely back to screen next week and leaving it in top creative form and I wish him all the best for his next chapter.”

Caroline Hollick, Head of C4 Drama, added: “Working with Bryan has been both utterly inspirational and enormous fun. Under his leadership, Hollyoaks has become a true gamechanger in the soap world, and while I’m heartbroken to say goodbye, I can’t wait to see what he achieves next.”

Note to editors:

Bryan’s first executive producer role ran from January 2006- December 2009 He re-joined in June 2012 and will leave at the end of 2020.

Hollyoaks’ biggest awards have ranged from viewer voted soap awards, to being recognised by leading industry experts at Broadcast, Mind and The Royal Television Society for its issuebased storylines and campaigns.

Most recently, Hollyoaks received the award for ‘Podcast of the Year’ from DigiDay Media Awards Europe for its #DontFilterFeelings series. In 2019, DigiDay gave Hollyoaks the award for ‘Best Social Good’, again for the #DontFilterFeelings mental health campaign.

In 2018, the #DontFilterFeelings mental health campaign also won the RTS North West Award for Best Digital Content and the Mind Media Award for ‘Making A Difference’. Across 2018 and 2019, Hollyoaks was awarded with five Best Soap and Continuing Drama awards. These included Broadcast, RTS, The British Soap Awards, Inside Soap magazine and the Digital Spy Reader Awards.

Similarly, the show’s portrayals of self-harm, abuse and male depression picked up seven awards collectively across 2017, 2018 and 2019, which included: Best Actor wins for Adam Woodward at the British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards; Best Male Dramatic Performance for Ross Adams at The British Soap Awards; and Best Storyline and Best Single Episode for Lily’s Self-harm at The British Soap Awards. The Mind Media Awards also awarded Hollyoaks with the Soaps and Continuing Series gong for Scott’s depression in 2017. In 2014 Hollyoaks was named Best British Soap for the first time in the awards history.

Lime Pictures Publishes Inclusivity Action Plan to All Staff

Please click below to see the Inclusivity Action Plan in full.


Extra® chewing gum joins forces with Channel 4 and Lime Pictures for Celebs Go Virtual Dating

Channel 4 and Lime Pictures have partnered with Extra Chewing Gum to create a spin off series of E4’s Celebs Go Dating. Celebs Go Virtual Dating will follow celebrities as they navigate dating during lockdown and beyond.

From reflecting the explosion in online dating over the past months, to creating a series of socially distanced dates. Rob Beckett will also join providing commentary around how well (or not) the celebrities are faring.

The partnership brokered by 4Sales, Lime Pictures and MediaCom will bring a ‘virtual’ version of Celebs Go Dating to E4 viewers which will also include bespoke sponsorship idents and in show product placement. Branded social content featuring Celebs Go Virtual Dating talent will also be hosted on E4, Celebs Go Dating and Extra Chewing Gum’s social media platforms via Channel 4’s 4 Studio. Extra Chewing Gum are also planning in store activity and competitions in order to coincide with their ‘Find Your Other Half’ personalised and sharable packs, helping bring young people together.

Extra Chewing Gum have partnered with Channel 4 and Lime Pictures with the aim of bringing confidence to the lives of Gen Z in the moments they need it the most, relying on the mental confidence boost that chewing a piece of gum can bring – and felt that nowhere  would be more relevant at the moment than the world of virtual and social distanced dating.

“Extra strives to provide boosts of confidence at those mini moments of self-doubt in the dating minefield” Sasha Storey, Extra Senior Brand Manager said.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Channel 4 and Lime Pictures around Celebs Go Virtual Dating and to help people find their perfect match. We hope to have created the perfect campaign to bring confidence to young, single and looking daters as they navigate the new world of virtual dating.

Jodie Miles, Content Lead at MediaCom added “there are new behaviours forming that present a range of new moments for Extra to bring confidence. Together we have built a campaign which spans multiple touchpoints, including TV, VOD, Product Placement, Digital, Social and In-Store”.

Sophie Lloyd, Branded Entertainment & Creative Leader at Channel 4 said: “This show is a prime example of a connected, cross-platform advertiser-funded programme with Channel 4’s editorial values at its core. We are delighted to be working with Extra for the first time - a partner who understands the power of Branded Entertainment and its activation beyond the screen.”

Sinead Dean, Senior Brand Development Manager at Lime Pictures said: “Celebs Go Dating has proved to be an incredibly successful format for E4, and we’re looking forward to reflecting the growth of online dating during lockdown on screen together with E4, 4Studio and Extra Chewing Gum this Summer via ‘Celebs Go Virtual Dating’. Together, we’ve created a truly multi-faceted and exciting branded entertainment partnership with Lime Pictures being uniquely placed to deliver activation beyond the screen to its brand partners.”

Celebs Go Dating has been E4’s most popular non-scripted show with 16-34-year-olds in 2018 and 2019, with the eighth series also proving a success, ranking as the channel’s highest rated non-scripted programme this year so far.

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