Argonon is an independent media group founded in 2011 by CEO James Burstall, the CEO of Leopard Films. With offices in London, Manchester, Bristol, Glasgow, New York and Vancouver. Argonon was named the fourth biggest UK owner/consolidator in the Broadcast Indie Survey 2015[1] and 12th global consolidator in Broadcast Indie 2017.[2]

Limited company
IndustryTelevision, digital media
FounderJames Burstall, Joey Attawia
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Number of locations
London, Manchester, Glasgow, New York, Vancouver
Key people
David Dugan (Director), Laura Bessell (COO)
Revenue£50 million (2014) 

The group produces and distributes factual, factual entertainment, documentary, reality, entertainment, arts, drama and children's programming for various television networks and channels worldwide with a core focus on the UK, US and Canadian markets. The company has developed new ventures including Cash in the Attic Ltd to exploit programme content in the digital world and The Bridge, to drive production partnership opportunities between Asia and English-speaking countries.

The group, which includes twelve companies, saw a turnover of over £50m in 2017[3] (£26.5m UK[1]) and were named as the fastest growing UK indie group with a year on year growth in revenue of 150% from 2013 to 2014.[4] Argonon are listed in the London Stock Exchange "1000 Companies To Inspire Britain 2016" report[5] and the 2017 report.[6] Argonon is listed in the 2016 Sunday Times HSBC Track 200 as one of the UK's fastest growing private companies.[7]

In 2017 Argonon invested in two new joint ventures - Barefaced TV brings together Rosie Bray and Lucy Golding and Bandicoot sees a new partnership of Derek McLean and Dan Nettleton. In the same year Leopard Pictures invested in Kristian Smith, twice BAFTA winner, as Chief Creative Officer.[8] Argonon won the National Winner Award (UK) at the European Awards 2018[9].

The founder

James Burstall is a film and television producer[10][11] and chief executive officer of Argonon which he founded in 2011, he also founded Leopard Films, Leopard USA & Leopard Pictures.

He studied modern languages at the University of Bristol (BA Joint Hons, 1987[12]), studied leadership at the Said Business School, University of Oxford (2011) and Leading Changing at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, California (2013)


Leopard Films

Founded in 2001, Leopard Films was one of the first companies to join Argonon in 2011[13] and supplies programmes across the factual, factual entertainment, children's and arts genres for broadcasters across the UK including BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 UK and BSkyB.

The first show produced by the production company was Monstrous Bosses and How to Be One for BBC1. The second was Cash in the Attic for the BBC, which ran for ten years on the BBC and went on to transmit in 167 countries following its launch in 2002.[14] The series was nominated for a Royal Television Society Programme Awards, 2008, for Best Daytime Programme in 2002.[15] An offshoot series Celebrity Cash in the Attic was produced by Leopard Films and a website launched in 2013 in the UK and 2015 in the US, as a digital brand extension of the show.

Other programmes include The War on Britain's Roads for BBC One in 2014 which explored the tensions between cyclists and motorists on Britain's roads and was nominated for a Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme[16] Leopard Films produced Tourette's: Let Me Entertain You for BBC Three[17] where musicians with Tourette's Syndrome were given the chance to perform in front of a live audience.

Other commissions for Leopard included Street Patrol UK for BBC One, Britcam: Emergency on our Streets (Pick and Sky1), Snowtrapped for Channel 5 and Robbed, Raided, Reunited for BBC Two. Missing Live (BBC One) was nominated for a Royal Television Society award for Best Daytime programme in 2008[18] and won a CorpComms Award for Best Use of Broadcast as Part of a Communication Strategy.[19] Other programmes included My Daughter, Deafness and Me for BBC One, Is Oral Sex Safe for BBC Three, Dispatches: Cash vs Cards for Channel 4.

A major debate around immigration in the UK followed the documentary The Day the Immigrants Left [20] presented by Evan Davis. The programme was nominated at the Rose D'Or Festival for Best Mini-series in 2010.

In 2015, Leopard Films produced six-part series Britain's Got the Builders in for BBC Two.[21]

The company produces a slate of arts documentaries and live art performance programming including Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty for BBC Two; Imagine: A Beauty is Born for BBC One, Matthew Bourne's Christmas for Channel 4; The World of Matthew Bourne which won the Czech Crystal in 2012 for Recordings of Opera, Swan Lake (Bourne) in 3D, Operetta, Musicians, Dance, ballet, Concerts Category and a Prix Italia in 2013 in the Performing Arts Category; Bussell on Ballerinas for BBC One; Death in Venice for Sky Arts 2; Bach: A Passionate Life for BBC Two which won the Czech Crystal in 2013 for Documentary Programmes dedicated to Music and Dance [22] Leonardo Live for Sky1 and cinematic release and Big Dance for Channel 4.

The company also produced two series of children's format Trade Your Way to the USA for CBBC.

Leopard USA

Leopard USA is a creator of reality, lifestyle, and entertainment programming. From its office in New York City, Leopard USA produces hundreds of hours of programming yearly for television and digital distribution for channels including Facebook, HGTV, DIY, GSN, A&E, TruTV, Speedvision, Discovery, TLC, BBC America and CNBC. Leopard USA was founded in 2002 and became part of the Argonon group in 2011.[23]

The first programme produced by Leopard USA was Cash in the Attic USA for HGTV.

Leopard USA programming includes HGTV's House Hunters International, with over 1500 episodes and 15 series completed to date. The programme brand has extended to further shows including House Hunters Off the Grid.

Man Caves is a long-running home renovation reality show which was first produced by Leopard USA in 2007 and is presented by former Super Bowl winner Tony Siragusa for cable channel DIY. Dear Genevieve, featuring designer and presenter Genevieve Gorder, launched on HGTV in 2009 and each episode sees Gorder design a room or an area for a family, after they have written to the show asking for help.

Other programming highlights include Food Network's Restaurant Divided and CNBC's The Filthy Rich Guide, Missing Las Vegas for A&E; Disaster Guy for A&E; Ransom Squad for A&E.

Leopard Drama (now Leopard Pictures)

Leopard Drama produced contemporary British drama and comedy for a range of broadcasters including BBC, ITV, and CBBC, as well as co-producing on theatrical cinema releases. Leopard Pictures was founded in 2005 and became part of the Argonon group in 2011. Key people; Joey Attawia and Kristian Smith.

The most recent series was Eve, a 13-part children's drama series which aired on CBBC in the UK, running for three series.[24]

Previous TV drama includes An Englishman in New York starring John Hurt and Cynthia Nixon which aired on ITV and several countries through the world. The film received a number of accolades including a 2009 Teddy Award at the Berlinale for Outstanding Performance by an Actor for John Hurt.[25] Also in 2009, the film was Winner, Best Feature, at the Hamburg Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.[26] The film was nominated for a Best Actor BAFTA for John Hurt in 2010[27] and nominated in two categories at the BAFTA TV Craft Awards in 2010 with Joey Attawia nominated for Best Costume Design and Beth Mickle for Best Production Design.[28] The filmed received a Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards nomination for Joey Attawia in 2010,[29] and was a nominee at the Rose D'Or Global Television Festival for Best Drama & Mini Series[30] as well as a nominee at the Glaad Media Awards in 2010 in the category of Outstanding TV Movie or Mini Series.[31]

Mysterious Creatures for ITV1 starring Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall was nominated for a Royal Television Society award for Sharon Martin in the category of Best Hair and Makeup[32] and was the winner of the Best Single & Serial Drama at the Mental Health Media Awards (sponsored by BAFTA) in 2007. Missing was a crime drama starring Pauline Quirke for BBC One which ran for two series and was shortlisted for Best Drama Series at the Mental Health Awards in 2009.

The production company also produced one-off comedy drama The Grey Man, based on a novel by Andy McNab, for BBC One and a 5-part series of comedy shorts, Conversations with my Wife for BBC Comedy starring Lenny Henry.

Leopard Pictures' first co-produced feature was The Holding, released in 2012 starring Vincent Regan. The film won an award at Fantasporto, the International Fantasy Film Awards in 2012 for Susan Jacobson in the category of Best Director[33] and was nominated at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2011 in the After Dark Competition.[34]

Leopard Pictures

Leopard Pictures was launched in 2017 from the previously titled Leopard Drama. Kristian Smith was appointed Chief Creative Officer.[35] Leopard Pictures makes high quality writer and talent-led drama, comedy and children's content for the UK and International Broadcasters. Key people: Kristian Smith, Joey Attawia.

Remedy Productions

Founded in 2003 by Toby Dormer and Juliet Borges, Remedy Productions was one of the first production companies to join Argonon in 2011.[23] The company was the No 1. independent producer of entertainment programming in the UK in 2014,[36] delivering over 1000 hours of content to the major terrestrial, digital and online channels every year. Denis O'Connor is Chief Creative Officer and Bernie Costello is Managing Director.

Remedy produces content across the entertainment, music and live event genres as well as branded and digital content and has supplied content to Channel 4, BBC, MTV and BSkyB. Remedy's most recent productions include Fifteen to One and Celebrity Fifteen to One for Channel 4. Other programmes include BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards for CBBC, BBC Three and iPlayer and over 1000 hours of music programming for MTV including The Official Top 40 and MTV News.

Windfall Films

Windfall Films is a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning independent production company. Founded in 1988 by David Dugan, Ian Duncan and Oliver Morse, it became part of the Argonon group in 2014.[37] Key people; Carlo Massarella, Kristina Obradovic.

The company produces factual and documentary programmes across a range of genres including science, engineering, social, history, adventure and natural history. The company produces programmes for international television networks including: BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5, PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and History Channel.

Highlights include Murder Trial for Channel 4 which won many documentary awards in 2014, including a BAFTA award for best Single Documentary,[38] a Grierson award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Theme,[39] an RTS award for Best Single Documentary[40] and a Broadcast Award for Best Single Documentary.[41]

Your Inner Fish for PBS (produced in collaboration with Tangled Bank Studios) won two Wildscreen Panda Awards,[42] two Jackson Hole Science Media awards[43] and an AAAS Kavli award.[44]

The Batman of Mexico for BBC Natural World won a Wildscreen Panda Award[45] and a New York Wild Film Festival award.[46]

In 2009, Sons of Cuba, a feature documentary about an inspirational boxing academy in Havana and winner of Best Documentary at Rome Film Festival[47] and Best Newcomer Grierson Award.[48]

Science and Natural History highlights include Inside Nature's Giants for Channel 4, which won a BAFTA for Best Specialist Factual;[49] The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway about the Crossrail project in London[50] for BBC 2; Strip the Cosmos for Discovery's Science Channel; Born in the Wild and Operation Maneater for Channel 4; Spider House for BBC Four; The Raising of the Costa Concordia for NGCI and PBS NOVA; Race & Intelligence: Science's Last Taboo, an investigation by Rageh Omaar which launched a Channel 4 season on Race.

Windfall also produced the Emmy award-winning series DNA for PBS and Channel 4 [51] celebrating the 50th anniversary of the double helix for Channel 4 and PBS; Absolute Zero was a series about the science of extreme cold for PBS and BBC 4; Wanted: Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid was produced for C4 True Stories and PBS NOVA and Reality On The Rocks was a Channel 4 series that follows Ken Campbell trying to get to grips with A Brief History of Time.

Windfall Films has produced live multi-platform events for Channel Four, including D Day: As It Happens, winner of a Digital Emmy,[52] a BAFTA craft innovation award and two Webby Awards; Easter Eggs Live; Foxes Live: Wild in the City; The Operation: Surgery Live, a week of live surgery.

Windfall has produced a number of historical documentaries including Generals At War, a 'cardboard' battle strategy format for NGCI; Attack of the Zeppelins; and Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb (for C4 and PBS NOVA); The Great Escape: Revealed for Channel 5 and PBS; Colditz; Men of Iron and Commando, all for Channel 4.

Windfall has also produced engineering formats illustrated with CGI including: Strip the City on IMDb for Discovery's Science Channel; Rise of the Machines on IMDb for H2 and Discovery Canada; Big, Bigger, Biggest for Channel 5 and National Geographic Channel and five series of Monster Moves for Channel 5 and Discovery Channel. Other programmes include two factually-based dramas for Channel Four: Born with Two Mothers and Richard is My Boyfriend and award-winning observational documentaries for Channel 4 including The Decision, Fifteen and The Lion's Den for BBC.

Windfall has also produced adventure formats including: The Tourist Trap that spied on four different nationalities on holiday and Lost!, dropping three blindfolded groups of competitors anywhere in the world and then follows their progress as they race home.

Windfall Films has featured in Broadcast Magazine's top ten polls of independent production companies [53] and has been nominated several times for Televisual's Bulldog awards .

Transparent TV

Transparent Television produces prime-time factual, factual entertainment and documentary programming which is run by Co-Founder and managing director, Jazz Gowans. The company joined the Argonon group in 2012. The production company work with several major UK broadcasters including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Yesterday TV Channel, Food Network and Liv (TV channel) to produce factual programming, documentaries, formats and features often with a theme of real-life stories and populist themes.

Commissioned shows include six series of access-all-areas cosmetic surgery series Botched up Bodies at Channel 5 and spin off shows Botched Up Brides and Botched Up Abroad. A youth skewed version has also aired on MTV. Jonathan Phang's Gourmet Trains transmitted on Food Network in 2013 and the second series launched in 2015.[54] The Incredible Hulk Woman transmitted as part of the Extraordinary People season on Channel 5 in 2014. The Great Northern Cookbook series aired on Channel 5 in 2013 and was accompanied by a cookbook detailing the recipes featured in the show.

Transparent TV have also produced a number of documentaries focused on issues including The Baby With the New Face for Channel 5, Leslie Ash: Face to Face for ITV1, 7 New Faces in 7 Days for Channel 5 and Queer as Old Folk for Channel 4.

Other productions include Restoration Roadshow and Italia Contia: Living the Dream for BBC Two, Danger: Diggers at Work for Channel 5, Mitch Winehouse's Showbiz Rant for UK Living spin off channel LIV and I was a Jet Stewardess for Yesterday.

BriteSpark Films

BriteSpark Films launched as a co-venture between documentary film-maker Nick Godwin and Argonon group in 2013.[54] The company produces factual, features and documentary and drama-documentary programming for the international market and has worked with ITV, Channel 5, Channel 4, Shaw Media, Discovery Networks International and Discovery ID.

Productions include long running Channel 5 series Nightmare Tenants, Slum Landlords which focuses on conflicts between landlords and tenants; Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers for ITV1 a portrait of London's jewelry district Hatton Garden; Manchester's Serial Killer? for Channel 4 which investigates a spate of suspicious deaths in Manchester's canals; The Wives Did It for Investigation Discovery, a drama documentary series profiling murder cases involving polygamy.

BriteSpark Films also produce Incredible Engineering Blunders: Fixed for Discovery Networks International.

Remedy Canada

Remedy Canada launched in 2012 by Toby Dormer with investment from Argonon.[55]

The production company's first series commission was Cabin Truckers, produced for Blue Ant Media and airing on Cottage Life (TV channel) in Canada, where the programme follows the lives of those helping to transport dream homes to dream locations, against the visually stunning backdrop of Western Canada. In 2015, Remedy Canada were commissioned by Shaw Media's Slice (TV channel) to produce First Dates Canada.

In addition to producing its own shows for Canadian broadcasters, Remedy acts as a partner for UK independent production companies wanting to work in Canada.

Argonon International

Argonon International is the global distribution arm of Argonon with a catalogue of over 2000 hours of content across the genres of factual, lifestyle, formats, entertainment, drama, music and arts. Key people; Cecilie Olsen, Rebecca Garcia.

Argonon International represents the content from across the Argonon group and some third party content producers at markets across the world.


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