BBC Studios Ramps Up Production in Australia

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The British broadcaster’s global arm is recruiting for a director of production down under.

BBC Studios is looking for a director of production in Australia as the global arm of the U.K.’s public broadcaster moves toward its merger with BBC Worldwide on April 1.

The BBC said on Friday that BBC Studios will launch its production arm down under with its first commission, a second edition of science format Stargazing Live for the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Stargazing Live, a multi-platform television event, will be produced for the ABC locally by a team from BBC Studios’ Science Unit in the U.K., including executive producer Helen Thomas and series producer Paul King. The BBC Studios’ program was first produced by the same team as a three-day event for ABC by FremantleMedia Australia in March last year, and was hosted by "rockstar scientist" Brian Cox.

Lisa Opie, managing director, factual, at BBC Studios, said: “We’re delighted to be working so closely with ABC on Stargazing Live 2 after the huge success of last year's program. Stargazing is science programming at its very best, and Andrew Cohen and his brilliant team in the Science Unit have enjoyed evolving and developing the format specifically for ABC’s audience."

The creation of an Australian production arm is aimed at exploiting the potential of the BBC Worldwide format catalog. Formats such as Strictly Come Dancing — broadcast in the U.S. as Dancing With The Stars have previously been made for the Australian market.

In a statement BBC Studies said the director of production will be charged withlaunching and managing the growth of television production in Australia, building creative partnerships between BBC Studios’ editorial teams in the U.K. and Australian broadcasters, driving the creation of new intellectual property and exploiting the rich potential of BBC Worldwide’s format catalog.”

The new role will report to the international production division which, from April, will be led by Anna Mallett, managing director, production and COO of BBC Studios. The role will also form part of the ANZ executive management team. Jon Penn, managing director of BBC Worldwide ANZ, will continue to lead the company here as it transitions to BBC Studios in April.

Penn said: “The new BBC Studios has got off to a great start in Australia with the Stargazing Live 2 commission, and this new role will spearhead the growth of our Australian production arm. We’re looking forward to producing more of our own formats and programs for local clients, who already broadcast many of the quality shows that our expert BBC production colleagues make.”

BBC Worldwide ANZ currently operates pay TV channels BBCFirst, BBCKnowledge, UKTV, CBeebies and BBCWorld News as well as licenses and sells its programs and formats to all Australian broadcasters.