Cast and crew involved in the failed Coronation Street musical Street of Dreams say they have given up hope of receiving thousands of pounds owed to them, after administrators were unable to prevent production company Reckless Entertainment from going into liquidation.
As revealed by The Stage last November, Reckless Entertainment Ltd – listed as one of two production companies behind the Street of Dreams musical – was placed into administration after it ran into financial difficulties with the show, which starred Paul O’Grady. It was pulled just two days into its run.
Administrators at Chantrey Vellacott DFK said at the time that they hoped to achieve a “return to all stakeholders involved”. Now, however, Reckless Entertainment has been placed into liquidation, with many involved in the production left thousands of pounds out of pocket.
A report to creditors – among whom O’Grady’s management company is listed as being owed £80,000 – reveals there will no “asset recoveries”. A subsequent letter from the Insolvency Service to potential creditors of Reckless Entertainment also shows there is “no prospect of a distribution to creditors”.
Total costs for a list of more than 40 identified creditors is recorded as £404,858.68. However, a document outlining “possible creditors” catalogues more than 100 other people connected with Reckless Entertainment who could be owed money.
One person involved in the production, who is owed thousands of pounds but did not want to be named, described it as “scandalous” that John and Trisha Ward, who ran Reckless before it went into administration, “were able to get away with this for so long, leaving so many people in debt and tainting the name of one of Britain’s best-loved TV shows”.
“I just hope they don’t go on to do something like this again,” she said.
Another performer, who is also owed thousands of pounds, described it as “deeply disappointing” that she was unlikely to see any money.
A report from Adrian Hyde at Chantrey Vellacott to creditors states the company had been trying to achieve one of three proposals for Reckless Entertainment – “rescuing the company as a going concern, achieving a better result for the company’s creditors than would be likely if the company were wound up, or realising property in order to make a distribution to one or more secured or preferential creditors”.
However, Hyde continues: “Since issuing my last report it has become clear that none of the above objectives can be achieved.
“This decision was taken as I was of the view that there were no assets in the company that could be realised, with the exception of potential claims against third parties that require further investigation.”
He adds: “Accordingly, upon an application to court, the company was placed into compulsory liquidation.”
Hyde’s report goes on to consider the assets of the company, and highlights the musical Street of Dreams itself and the fact the rights to produce the musical were given by ITV to Reckless Entertainment.
But he adds: “I do not envisage that these rights have any value, as it is expected that should the musical be resurrected, ITV will grant a new licence to the party involved in its start-up.”
Hyde also points to sales of the Coronation Street musical album, but reveals this is unlikely to generate income unless the production is revived and enough people buy a copy.
Paul Fleming, from Equity’s live performance department, said the union had been making “pursuits via regular contact with the administrators” for performers and creatives “to see what, if anything, can be gained from the insolvency process”.
“For those of our members who are eligible, we have also supported them in making applications to the Insolvency Service’s National Insurance Fund,” he added.
According to Chantrey Vellacott, it is not possible to determine how many creditors there are in total, as the trading of Reckless Entertainment was “intertwined” with Street of Dreams Ltd.
In his report, Hyde explains that this was a “special purpose vehicle for the production of the musical” and the companies had a “very close connection for the purposes of bringing together the musical”.
Chantrey Vellacott did not respond to requests for a comment.