By Scott Wright

STV has underlined its commitment to expanding its productions business by acquiring a minority stake in Two Cities Television, the company behind hit drama series Patrick Melrose starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Glasgow broadcaster, which has focused heavily on productions since chief executive Simon Pitts took charge, said the partnership will boost its reputation as a producer of drama, while providing creative and financial support for Two Cities.

The investment comes as STV basks in the critical acclaim received by dramas Elizabeth is Missing and The Victim, which it produced for the BBC. And it follows its acquisition of a majority stake in Primal Media, which recently produced documentaries Home Free for Channel 4 and Jerk for BBC Three.

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Two Cities, which was founded in 2016, is led by chief executive Michael Jackson, a former controller of BBC One and BBC Two. Its creative director Stephen Wright is a former head of drama at BBC Northern Ireland, where he was executive director of Line of Duty and The Fall.

Two Cities is currently developing a series based on Michael Wolff’s book on Donald Trump, Fire and Fury, in partnership with Topic Studios.

STV has the option to increase its initial 25% stake to a majority interest in the next three years. BBC Studios, an original investor in Two Cities Television, is exiting as part of the deal.

Mr Pitts said: “This exciting new partnership builds on STV’s growing reputation in high-end drama following recent successes, The Victim and Elizabeth is Missing. Our Two Cities investment will accelerate our growth plan to create a world class, nations-based production business.”