Company founder and creator of the outstanding drama series Tenko (right), Lavinia has a particular talent for bringing true-life stories to the screen, but also creates original pieces too. Well-known for stories with strong female roles, her interests are diverse and she’s been responsible for a wide variety of productions. For a relatively small company, Warner Sisters’ successes have been numerous, and the accent is on popular, high-quality programming.
With a BA Degree in History & Psychology, Lavinia first joined LWT’s drama department as a PA, moving on to be a Researcher at Thames TV mainly on This is Your Life, and soon after became a freelance Producer/Director at the BBC. There, she made programmes within the Features, Current Affairs and Drama departments, including Lord Mountbatten: A Man of Our Times; Lizzie An Amazon Adventure; A Life with Crime; Private Lives; Women in Captivity; as well as Tenko.
Shortly after the launch of Channel 4 in the early 80’s, Lavinia set up Warner Sisters and was among the very first tranche of independent commissions with her critically acclaimed Jailed by the British programmes. Her next C4 production, GI Brides, won the Broadcasting Press Guild Award and BAFTA nomination for Best Documentary. Soon after, she optioned Robert Harris’ book Selling Hitler, sold it to ITV, and executive produced the series. When her next drama Wish Me Luck (pictured left), gained 14 million viewers and was re-commissioned for a further two series, her future as a leading Independent was assured.
After 5 years building up Warner Sisters Productions, Lavinia asked Jane Wellesley to join her in 1988, and a successful, happy 14-year partnership ensued. They created a new branch of the company (WS Film & TV), and while Wellesley produced such hits as drama A Village Affair and comedy series Dressing for Breakfast, Warner was producing high-profile series such as Dangerous Lady (pictured right) and The Jump and big co-productions such as The Bite and Do or Die. Anne-Marie Casey helped introduce the company to feature film production, making Jilting Joe, among others.
Since 2002, the company has relocated to Ealing Studios and restructured so that Lavinia can also take on other Executive Producing / Consultancy work and do some writing. Warner Sisters has enjoyed a (non-exclusive) development deal with SMG since 2003 and is also developing factual programmes again, as well as optioning best-selling books. Warner Sisters is also still busy making TV drama, including the hugely succesful Martina Cole adaptations for Sky: The Take in 2009 (pictured below) and The Runaway in 2011, both of which have seen Lavinia as Executive Producer.
Lavinia has been a Vice-Chair of PACT, on the committee of the Edinburgh TV Festival, and an original member of the 25% Campaign for increased Independent access to the BBC and ITV. She was Consultant to Hollywood director Bruce Beresford on his feature film, Paradise Road, starring Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett. Lavinia’s – soon to be republished – book Women Beyond the Wire (written with John Sandilands) was the prime source material for the film.
Lavinia Warner’s agent is Paul Stevens at ICM