Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited,
Hilary Strong is the CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, the company that owns, controls and manages the works of Agatha Christie. She is responsible for the exploitation of all of Agatha Christie’s 80+ books and short stories and 19 plays around the world.
Working with the biggest names in film, television, publishing, stage and now digital, ACL ensures that Christie’s work continues to reach new audiences in innovative ways and to the highest standard. Most recent projects include; a new feature film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, the global publication of the new Poirot novel The Monogram Murders by best-selling crime writer Sophie Hannah, and BBC One adaptations of Partners in Crime and And Then There Were None, both co-produced by Agatha Christie Productions.
Strong has most recently brokered a deal with 20th Century Fox for five-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh to direct a new feature film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Strong will act as Executive Producer alongside James Prichard for Agatha Christie Ltd.
And Then There Were None, the best selling crime novel of all time, was adapted for the first time into a major television series for the BBC Christmas 2015. With an illustrious cast, Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Productions produced a three-part adaptation of the author’s masterwork, by Sarah Phelps (The Casual Vacancy, Great Expectations) pulling in over 8 million viewers per episode. The show will be broadcast in the US by Lifetime on the 12 and 13th March. Hilary holds an Executive Producer credit.
Partners in Crime starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine, launched this year on BBC One. The six-part drama drew an audience of over 5 million viewers and confidently doubled the channel’s slot average. Hilary holds an Executive Producer credit.
Hilary has successfully brokered numerous deals on other titles, which will be announced later this year.
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Curtain, Poirot’s Last Case was nominated for an EMMY in OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIE category.
Prior to her appointment as CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, Hilary was Managing Director of Acorn Productions, the UK production and rights management arm of RLJ Entertainment, with responsibility for growing a drama development slate around both the works of Agatha Christie and those of Greenlit, principally Foyle’s War.
Previously to these roles, Hilary was General Counsel and Group Commercial Director at Chorion with responsibility for heading up commercial and business affairs for the private equity-backed rights holding business (including Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, Mr Men and Paddington Bear), and was a Board director for Agatha Christie Ltd, at that time a majority Chorion owned company. Sitting on the main Board of Chorion, her remit was to manage the transactions for potential acquisitions and consolidation plans. She was subsequently responsible for overseeing the division and sale of all parts of the Group, in a manner designed to maximise returns to creditors.
Hilary was formerly Group Business Director at Hat Trick Productions, where she initially worked as Head of Legal and Business Affairs, setting up the department where she was responsible for broadcaster negotiations; talent deals; international sales deals and international format licence deals; rights exploitation negotiations and corporate affairs. Hilary was the Executive Production Advisor on Have I Got News For You, a show that is now in its 27th year.
In 1996 she joined the board at Hat Trick, initially as Commercial Director with an expanded brief to manage the growing commercial exploitation business in the Company. She set up and ran the international programme sales company, Hat Trick International Ltd, and divisions responsible for exploitation of format rights, video/DVD home entertainment rights, publishing rights and merchandising rights. She also oversaw the in-house production of made-for-DVD material and books, working closely with external distribution companies.
During her time at Hat Trick, Hilary sat on several committees for PACT, including the Terms of Trade advisory committee, working closely with the BBC and Channel 4 in relation to revised Terms of Trade for the independent production sector.
After graduating in law from Cambridge University, Hilary joined the intellectual property and media team at Macfarlanes Solicitors, at first working primarily with advertising clients before moving to television at a time when the independent production sector was emerging. She represented 24 Hour Productions on the early series of cult youth programme The Word, then led the structuring of the joint venture between 24 Hour Productions and Bob Geldof’s company Planet Communications to create Planet 24. She worked closely with the joint venture to successfully win the Channel 4 breakfast slot pitch with The Big Breakfast, and worked with the management team in setting up of Ginger Productions, a joint venture between Planet 24 and Chris Evans.