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The Secrets of UK Prisons indie Dare Pictures is gearing up for expansion after securing investment from US producer Asylum Entertainment Group.

Former Woodcut Media executive Derren Lawford, who founded Dare – an acronym of Diversity, Allyship, Representation, Empowerment – in 2022, remains as chief executive with chair Michelle Morgan becoming company director.

Dare is the third UK investment for Asylum, following London and Glasgow-based Soho Studios Entertainment and Moon&Back Media.

A part of Endeavor’s non-scripted content group, Asylum is run by Steve Michaels and is behind US shows such as 30 for 30, The Kennedys and How I Caught My Killer.

It also has first look deals with US producer Comandante Productions and the New York Post.

Michaels hailed Lawford’s “enviable track record and diverse interests”.

As well as Dare’s Channel 4 shows such as The Secrets of UK Prisons and Crypto Queen: Visionary, Victim or Villain? and BBC Storyville doc Dalton’s Dream, Lawford has made Bafta-winning short film The Black Cop and executive produced Netflix docs Generation Revolution , Mandela, My Dad and Me and Cut From a Different Cloth.

Starting out as a factual indie, Dare last year signalled a move into scrripted with the hiring of Cassandra Johnson-Bekoe as head of scripted development.

Lawford said Dare shares Asylum’s “undeniable passion to reach audiences through its distinct and impressive IP”.

He added: “Steve is an incredibly shrewd entrepreneur, so the opportunity to evolve our company within Asylum’s unique global network provides us with the perfect platform to create more original and memorable stories from around the world.”  

Rosegrown, an angel investor in Dare, will now exit the business.

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