Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has entered into a first-look production deal in the UK with Tony Garnett and John Heyman's London-based World Productions, a further move in its expansion into non-US film production.

Garnett and Heyman co-founded World in 1990 and have focused principally on TV series with a string of UK hits such as Between The Lines, Ballykissangel, Cardiac Arrest, This Life, The Cops, Attachments and Ultraviolet. This deal is for feature films.

Garnett first made his mark in the 1960s as a TV producer on a series of dramas by Ken Loach including Up The Junction and Cathy Come Home. He has gone on to become a prolific producer of TV and feature films in the UK and the US including Beautiful Thing (1996), Fat Man And Little Boy (1989), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), Prostitute (1980) and Ken Loach classics Family Life (1971) and Kes (1969).

"Tony Garnett is well-known as one of the UK's most influential and respected producers," said chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment John Calley in a statement. "In recent years, his and John Heyman's World Productions has distinguished itself in the creation of quality dramatic television and in the development of young talent. Our partnership will give us greater access to the creative community in the UK and furthers our commitment to global productions."

"John and I are glad to be back in business with such good and long-time friends," added Garnett.