BBC Studios Combines Productions & Content Teams


BBC Studios is merging its productions and content partnerships businesses to create a single unit for all the commercial arm’s productions, talent relationships and content investment.

BBC Studios Productions will consist of four genre-based areas: scripted, factual, global formats and children’s—each taking a “one portfolio” approach across all content.

Ralph Lee, as CEO of BBC Studios Productions, will have overall responsibility for all of BBC Studios’ productions and content investment. Each genre’s managing director reports to Lee.

Lee will be supported by COO Martha Brass, who will continue to be responsible for business development, production operations and strategy. Brass will also assume overall responsibility for content investment into distribution rights, collaborating closely across BBC Studios.

Mark Linsey takes up the new role of managing director for scripted. His new responsibilities will span BBC Studios’ existing teams in drama productions, daytime, continuing drama series and comedy productions, alongside its scripted labels (Lookout Point, Sid Gentle, Clerkenwell Films, Baby Cow Productions, House Productions) and the scripted indie minority shareholdings and distribution relationships.

Tom McDonald, the current managing director of factual, will continue to oversee BBC Studios’ factual labels: the Documentary Unit, the Science Unit and the Natural History Unit. He takes on expanded responsibilities covering all of factual’s content investment as well as factual indie relationships.

A global formats group will be created from three existing areas of the business: factual entertainment & events (FE&E), entertainment & music (E&M) and international production & formats (IP&F). This group will focus on unscripted entertainment for the global market, chaired by Lee, and including Brass and respective Managing Directors Hannah Wyatt (FE&E), Matt Forde (IP&F) and Suzy Lamb (E&M).

Cecilia Persson, the recently announced managing director for children’s, will lead BBC Studios children’s genre activity, including the soon-to-be-transferred BBC Children’s in-house productions team. Persson will oversee BBC Studios’ relationships with indies and content investment in this space.

BBC Studios CEO Tom Fussell said: “As both the U.K.’s most commissioned production company and its biggest distributor, BBC Studios is already delivering excellent growth with considerable future ambition. This move will both strengthen and simplify our content offer, securing our support for the very finest creative talent and stories and benefitting audiences in the U.K. and internationally.”

Lee commented: “Our award-winning production business has evolved enormously in the four years since the U.K. production teams became commercial. Moving to a single view and strategy across all our content activities is a natural next step, creating bigger and broader opportunities for all our labels, partners and the talent we work with.”

Linsey said: “Having worked hand-in-hand with all our content and production teams during my time in BBC Studios, I am a big believer in the potential of this ‘one-portfolio’ approach. Our customers around the world want distinctive, high-quality content: combining existing expertise means we can do this more quickly and efficiently while prioritizing the best ideas.”