Smith Jones will close in summer

Smith Jones Campbell, the commercials production company started by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones 11 years ago, has announced that it will close for business this summer.

Smith Jones Campbell, the commercials production company started by

Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones 11 years ago, has announced that it will

close for business this summer.



The decision comes nine months after the company dropped the Smith Jones

Brown & Cassie name and relaunched as Smith Jones Campbell, with Steve

Campbell, an established director who had spent ten years at Rose

Hackney Barber.



Campbell, as a board member, took the decision to close the company

jointly with Mel Smith and Trevor Evans, the managing director.



Evans explained: ’I am worried about next year. Jobs are fewer and not

as profitable. Clients are spending more on sponsorships, mail-outs and

DRTV. I’m keeping ahead of the game - large companies are finding it

tough and more agencies are doing their own production work.’



Smith’s commitment to directing feature films had also been a

factor.



’Commercials production is something that requires one’s undivided

attention. With the principals of the company increasingly involved in

other areas, it seemed best to quit while we’re ahead,’ Evans said.



The company has been through a number of changes recently, including an

acrimonious split with one of the founding partners, David Brown, a year

ago. A month earlier it had opened two affiliated companies embracing

feature films and music production, Lola Productions and Freedom 4.



In October 1997, Neil Morrissey, the star of Men Behaving Badly, left

Smith Jones with one of its top producers, Nikki Welch, to set up

Quentin Morrissey, which subsequently closed.



Two of Smith Jones’s directors have secured feature film projects. One

of them, JJ Keith, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his short

film, Holiday Romance.



Smith Jones will complete its ongoing productions before shutting

down.



Of the ten staff, about five are expected to join Evans in a new

project.



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