Our speakers for this year's Creative Cities Convention audio visual and podcast content are an inspirational mix of industry experts who share their own unique insights and expertise.
See below for our list of speakers, listed alphabetically.
Muslim Alim - Thinking Aloud
Commissioning Editor, BBC Daytime
Muslim joined the BBC 17 years ago and has produced content for TV, Radio and Online.
Starting as a Researcher in TV Ents he moved to Radio to produce programmes, features, documentaries, live sessions and outside broadcasts for Radio 1 and was part of the launch team for BBC Introducing where he gave a then unknown Calvin Harris his first Radio 1 live session. After 8 years in Radio he became Project Lead on strategic initiatives for BBC Scotland and returned to production as a co-creator of the award-winning digital youth brand BBC The Social where he commissioned over 1600 multi-genre items including a true crime podcast and a gritty YouTube drama.
Since joining the Daytime Commissioning team as an Assistant Commissioner in 2017 he has worked with Jo Street and looks after returning titles; Antiques Road Trip, Homes Under The Hammer, Money For Nothing, Impossible and Eggheads. His first daytime commission, The Customer Is Always Right will air later this spring.
Muslim was recently promoted to Commissioning Editor with a specific brief to bring fresh ideas to daytime from producers in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer - Thinking Aloud
Presenters and directors, Raise the Roof
Kirstie and Phil first appeared on Channel 4 in 2000 presenting Location Location Location. Twenty-one years later they’re still knocking it out the ballpark fronting numerous other brands like Love it or List it, Handmade Christmas and the History of Britain in 100 Homes.
In 2010 they set up Raise the Roof Productions in Glasgow, demonstrating a big show of belief and commitment to the local talent and its ability to make cracking shows. The company has gone on to kick-start, grow and develop hundreds of careers and has produced over 600 hours of television.
Adeel Amini - Podcast
Senior Producer, freelance
Adeel Amini is a freelance Senior Producer in Entertainment, and has worked on shows such as Catchphrase, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Blind Date, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and many more. He is also the founder of pan-industry working group Coalition For Change, and sits on the board of Screen Yorkshire and the BAFTA TV Committee.
In 2018 Adeel formed what is now known as The TV Mindset, a mental health support group for freelancers based on his own experiences in the industry (and having to temporarily leave it). While initially a peer-support group, the TV Mindset has evolved into a platform for freelancers to share their issues while also advocating for constructive change.
Alongside wellbeing webinars, the TV Mindset has also tackled issues such as the culture of fear in TV as well as racism in the industry (a webinar that has since been watched by over 6,000 people). The name is now recognised in the industry as a force for change, and helps advise and inform policies of key players and institutions.
Imran Azam - Thinking Aloud
Imran Azam is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of thisisreel.co; a video storytelling consultancy based in Yorkshire.
He is also one of the pioneers of smartphone video production and over the years has helped develop a new generation of storytellers across Europe, Africa and the Far-East through his not-for-profit ‘Art of Smartphone Filmmaking’ film school.
Babita Bahal - Studio session
Head of Creative Diversity, Channel 4
Babita is Head of Creative Diversity at Channel 4 – leading a team tasked with fulfilling one of Channel 4’s key priorities - ensuring the broadcaster continues to improve on and off-screen diverse representation and authentic portrayal across its content. Providing guidance and expertise on all aspects of inclusion and diversity to Channel 4’s commissioning team as well as its independent production partners, Babita also supports start-ups, Black, Asian and minority led and regionally based companies alongside projects with diverse content or talent attached.
Babita works with partners across the industry to attract, retain and develop talent from underrepresented backgrounds to increase representation and career progression in production crews. Babita is committed to making broadcasting more inclusive and reflective of the diversity of the UK. She is a member of the Edinburgh TV Festival Foundation board and the Grierson DocLab Advisory Group.
Mike Beale - Studio session
MD Global Creative Network at ITV Studios
Mike Beale heads up the Global Creative Network at ITV Studios overseeing all development and acquisition of Third Party content in to the group of 36 non scripted labels worldwide. Mike joined ITV Studios in June 2011 to oversee creation and production of ITV Studios formats. He looked after the company’s slate of new and established formats, including, The Chase, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Hell’s Kitchen, Come Dine With Me and rolled out the new reality hit, Love Island.
Mike has extensive experience working at a range of producer/broadcasters and production companies including NBCUniversal (Minute To Win It, Top Chef), BBC (Weakest Link, Friends Like These), Hat Trick (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Confessions). Mike also previously co founded 12 Yard Productions and Alchemy Reality. His earlier career began in production where he worked with a number of companies including Clear Idea TV, Planet 24, LWT and Bunim Murray Productions.
James Burstall - Thinking Aloud
CEO and founder, Argonon
James Burstall is CEO and founder of multi award-winning, hyper-converged superindie Argonon, one of the UK’s largest truly independent groups, headquartered in London, New York, Los Angeles, Liverpool and Glasgow.
James founded Argonon in 2011, bringing together world-class independent production companies, spanning all genres, producing for broadcasters and platforms around the world. Argonon’s eight production companies include Bandicoot (The Masked Singer) Leopard Pictures (Worzel Gummidge), Windfall Films (Unearthed), Like a Shot (Abandoned Engineering), BriteSpark Films (Dispatches), Leopard USA (House Hunters International), Studio Leo and branded content expert Nemorin.
Previously, James founded Leopard Films, specialising in returnable factual series including the international formats Cash in the Attic, and Missing and Leopardrama, producers of the global award-winning An Englishman in New York, starring John Hurt and Cynthia Nixon.
Fiona Campbell - Thinking Aloud
Controller, BBC Three
Fiona Campbell is Controller of BBC Three, the home of content for under 35s on BBC iPlayer where she holds overall responsibility for content commissioning across platforms and oversees the strategy of the channel.
BBC Three is responsible for brands such as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Glow Up, The Rap Game and This Country and, under Fiona’s leadership, won ‘Online Channel of the Year’ at the Edinburgh TV Awards and ‘Channel of the year’ at the Broadcast Digital Awards.
Previously Fiona was Digital Director for BBC News where she developed BBC News presence on third party platforms such as Apple News, Facebook and Instagram as well as the BBC News app and website. Fiona also spent five years as a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 News between 2005 – 2009 where she also Executive produced Dispatches output. She began in production as a researcher on the Money Programme in London in 1994 and went on to work on Watchdog and Panorama as an Assistant Producer and then Producer-Director during the Kosovo and Iraq Wars. She also was a Commissioning Editor for Documentaries and Current Affairs at BBC Three just before the Channel went online.
She was born and brought up in Belfast and has a young son, Lorcan.
Sebastian Cardwell - Thinking Aloud
Senior Vice President, Deputy Director of Programmes, ViacomCBS Networks UK
Sebastian Cardwell is Senior Vice President, Deputy Director of Programmes for ViacomCBS UK (VCN UK) which includes Channel 5, the UK’s third largest commercial TV channel and its digital channels 5STAR, 5Select and 5USA, as well as Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network. Reporting to Ben Frow, Chief Content Officer, VCN UK, Cardwell is responsible for devising strategy across the portfolio, with a specific focus on drama and original content.
Steve Carson - Thinking Aloud
Director, BBC Scotland
Born and brought up in Northern Ireland, Steve graduated from Manchester University before joining the BBC, progressing from Youth and Entertainment Features to producing/directing on Newsnight, Spotlight and Panorama.
He returned to Ireland in 1997 and established the independent company, Mint Productions.
In February 2009, Steve was appointed Director of Programmes, RTÉ Television, responsible for commissioning in-house and independent content on RTÉ One and Two. He re-joined the BBC in 2013 as Head of BBC Northern Ireland Productions.
Steve joined BBC Scotland as Head of Multiplatform Commissioning in 2017, launching a dedicated channel for Scotland. Commissioning credits include the award-winning drama Guilt, landmark documentaries Yes No: Inside The Indyref, Murder Trial and Inside Central Station. A former vice-president of the European Broadcasting Union’s Television Committee and chair of RTS Northern Ireland, he is married to broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan.
In October 2020 Steve was appointed Director, BBC Scotland.
Stuart Cosgrove - Podcast
Writer and broadcaster
Stuart Cosgrove is from Perth, Scotland, and is a writer and broadcaster. He was a staff writer with Echoes and media editor of the NME and is widely regarded as the UK’s most influential writer on the history of soul music for his epic trilogy: Detroit 67: The Year That Changed Soul (nominated as Best Music Book of 2016), Memphis 68: The Tragedy of Southern Soul (winner of the Penderyn Music Prize), and Harlem 69: The Future of Soul.
Stuart has a doctorate from Hull University; honorary doctorates from Stirling University, the University of Abertay, Napier University, Edinburgh and John Moores University, Liverpool and has studied Innovation and Creativity Leadership at Harvard University and is an Advanced Management Graduate from Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also a respected television executive who has won numerous awards including a BAFTA and Royal Television Society award for Channel 4’s coverage of the London Paralympics in 2012. His recent book Cassius X was published in 2021.
Tim Davie - Studio session
Tim Davie became Director-General of the BBC on 1 September 2020. He is the 17th Director-General of the Corporation.
Prior to this, Tim was Chief Executive of BBC Studios, the BBC’s principal commercial subsidiary. Responsible for creating and distributing leading British content globally, Tim led BBC Studios from April 2013. Whilst in the role, he oversaw the merger between the BBC’s production arm and BBC Worldwide, the Corporation’s distribution company, and was responsible for an annual turnover of over £1.4bn.
Tim was acting BBC Director-General between November 2012 and April 2013. During his time at the BBC, he has previously held the role of Director of Audio and Music, with overall responsibility for the BBC’s national radio output, its digital services and performing groups, and Director of the Marketing, Communications and Audiences division.
Before joining the BBC, he was Vice President of Marketing and Franchise at PepsiCo Europe. Before this, Tim worked for Procter and Gamble after leaving Cambridge University where he read English.
Tim is co-chairman of the Creative Industries Council and a Trustee of the Tate; he is a former chair of Comic Relief.
Tim was appointed CBE in 2018 for services to International Trade.
Isabel Davis - Podcast
Executive Director, Screen Scotland
At Screen Scotland, Isabel leads its drive for the cultural, social and economic development of all aspects of Scotland’s tv and film sector through enhanced funding, services and support.
Previously Head of International at the BFI, her role combined editorial, production and policy expertise. Drawing together industry, public and government stakeholders to identify the UK screen industries’ key sectors and territories, she led the design and delivery of a package of initiatives and funding to help achieve success on the international stage, including the negotiation of co-production treaties with Morocco, Palestine, Israel, China and Brazil.
Production Executive/Executive Producer credits on high profile UK co-productions include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War (Cannes 2018 Official Selection, winning Best Director); Haifaa Al Mansour’s Mary Shelley (TIFF 2017); Yorgos Lanthimos’s Oscar® nominated The Lobster (Official Competition, Cannes 2015); Claire Denis’ High Life and Victor Kossakovsky’s Aquarela. She also backed the development of films from Scottish talent including David Mackenzie and Rona Munro.
Janice Forsyth - Podcast
One of Scotland’s most respected broadcasters, Sony Award winner Janice Forsyth currently presents her own daily afternoon arts and music show for BBC Radio Scotland – as well as the station’s Edinburgh Festival audience shows and live commentary of the annual Proms in the Park and Opening Night for Radio 4. She also hosts The Scottish Book Trust’s Authors’ Live UK-wide webcasts with top children’s writers, and is sought after as a presenter for live events and awards ceremonies.
Janice has a lifelong love of the arts and worked in the Scottish culture scene before moving into arts journalism, as an editor, feature writer and columnist for a range of a national publications, and as a TV presenter and producer of arts, film, music, books, debate and even cookery shows for STV, BBC and Channel 4. She is currently Chair of The Rothesay Pavilion restoration project on the Isle of Bute.
She is co-founder and CCO of The Big Light podcast network and The Big Light Studio
Emilia Fox - Podcast
Emilia’s film debut was in Roman Polanski's film The Pianist. Her other notable films include the Italian–French–British romance-drama film The Soul Keeper (2002), for which she won the Flaiano Film Award for Best Actress; the drama film The Republic of Love (2003); the comedy-drama film Things to Do Before You're 30 (2005); the black comedy Keeping Mum (2005); the romantic comedy-drama film Cashback (2006); the drama Flashbacks of a Fool (2008); the drama film Ways to live Forever (2010); the drama-thriller A Thousand Kisses Deep (2011); and the fantasy-horror drama film Dorian Gray (2009).
Her television roles include BBC drama Pride and Prejudice (1995), the PBS British/German television serial Rebecca (1997), ITV Granada's Henry VIII (2003), BBC's Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004), BBC mini series The Virgin Queen (2005) and the ITV crime drama series Fallen Angel (2007). She also appeared as Morgause in the BBC's Merlin and Sky’s Delicious (2016).
Emilia stars as Dr. Nikki Alexander on BBC crime drama Silent Witness, having joined the cast in 2004.
Plays include Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Jared Harris and Coriolanus with Ralph Fiennes.
Monty Halls - Podcast
Monty Halls is an award-winning producer who runs his production company - Seadog - out of Totnes in South Devon. The companies output - both commercial and broadcast - has an emphasis on environmental programming, with their best known productions to date being two series of “My Family and the Galapagos” in 2018 and 2020 for Channel Four. A marine biologist by background, Monty is also the President of the Galapagos Conservation Trust, and a Global Ambassador for the Durrell Wildlife and Conservation Trust.
He worked for six months as an artisanal fisherman in Cornwall for the BBC2 series "Fisherman’s Apprentice", and has written eleven books on the marine environment, on communities and individuals living in wild places, our relationship with the world around us.”
Craig Hunter - Podcast
Creative Director - Factual, STV
Craig joined STV in 2019 and during this time has overseen a wide range of productions. These include: delivery of a production on the Royals and the Press during lockdown for Channel 5; an investigative documentary for Channel 4 called Is Covid Racist; a brand new format transforming farms in crisis for Channel 5; and an innovative new six-part series blending factual and drama for Channel 4, Murder Island – making STV Studios the first production company to win funding from Channel 4’s contestable fund.
In his previous role as Lead Commissioning Editor for Natural History and Specialist Factual at the BBC, Craig’s commissioning credits include BBC’s Blue Planet Live, Drowning in Plastic and Inside the Factory and he has worked across a range of formats including blue chip series, live events, social experiments, competitions and returning formats.
Other commissioning highlights include The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, Big Life Fix, The Parkinson’s Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure? Grizzly Bear Cubs and Me, Animals with Cameras and Amazing Hotels: Life beyond the Lobby. In production, Craig was Executive Producer for BBC Science and KEO Films, with credits across Specialist Factual, Features, Current Affairs and Documentaries, including the multi award-winning Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die for BBC Two.
Luke Hyams - Podcast
Head of Originals, YouTube
Luke Hyams is the Head of Originals for YouTube in EMEA where he oversees all original programming across the region. At YouTube Luke has been responsible for a wide range of cross-genre programming, including Terms & Conditions, How to be Behzinga and Together We Rise. Before joining the Google owned video platform, Luke was Director of Global Content at The Walt Disney Co where he worked with the worlds best digital creators and legacy Disney brands to create original digital franchises for a variety of platforms. Luke has spent time in Asia partnering with brands to produce web-series and micro-movies and before that worked extensively as a writer and director creating award-winning interactive series including "Dubplate Drama," and 'Katemodern', for which he earned the Broadcast Press Guild award for innovation.
Andrew Jackson - Studio session
Creative Director, Raise the Roof Productions
Andrew helps lead the creative vision for Raise the Roof. As well as executive producing much of its output, he pitches ideas to Commissioners and Controllers at most of the major broadcasters. Since joining the company Andrew has executive produced the BAFTA Scotland winning A Country Life for Half the Price with Kate Humble (C5), RTS Scotland winning series Fill Your House for Free (C4) and Len Goodman’s Holiday of My Lifetime (BBC One) as well as one of C4’s most popular formats Love it or List it. He’s also exec produced Britain in 100 Homes for More4, Flour Power for BBC One, Escape to the Farm and 1000 years of History for Channel 5 and My Mortgage Free Home and Quick Little Builds for Discovery’s HGTV and Discovery+.
Before joining RTRP, Andrew spent 6 years at Channel 4, latterly as Deputy Head of Features managing a team of 4 Commissioning Editors and some of the Channel's biggest brands. He commissioned hundreds of hours including BAFTA award winning documentary series Hugh's Fish Fight and RTS award winning series Bank of Dave as well as numerous returning series including George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners.
Sanjeev Kohli - Studio session and podcast
Actor, comedian, writer
Sanjeev Kohli is the co-writer/co-star of award-winning Radio 4 comedy Fags Mags and Bags, has written for sketch shows Chewin’ The Fat and Goodness Gracious Me, has presented extensively on the BBC, and has written and recorded vocals for the musical project The Grand Gestures.
Sanjeev has also appeared in the likes of Cold Feet, Fresh Meat and Look Around You (where he played Synthesiser Patel), as well as being the star of the video for Elbow’s Lost Worker Bee. He is best-known however for playing shopkeeper Navid in Still Game for nine series on the BBC and three sell-out runs at The Glasgow Hydro.
In 2020 Sanjeev appeared in Armando Iannucci’s new HBO drama Avenue 5.
Seetha Kumar - Thinking Aloud
Seetha is CEO of ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK’s screen industries, which is supporting economic recovery and future innovation and growth across the nations and regions by investing in the skilled and inclusive workforce who are critical to global success. She is also a member of the Creative Diversity Network board and the Royal Television Society Education Committee and was formerly VP of Pearson Qualifications International, following leadership roles across Pearson’s vocational and higher education teams. She worked in television in senior roles including BBC Online controller and launching BBC HD (the UK’s first free-to-air public service HD channel) and in a variety of production roles at the BBC and Channel 4.
Stewart Kyasimire - Podcast
Stewart Kyasimire is a BAFTA-nominated director whose films include the BBC's Black and Scottish, a seminal, identity-defining film gathering prominent black Scots from all generations.
Driven by an innate passion for storytelling, particularly untold stories, Stewart got his start in 2018 filming documentaries and music videos. Today he runs his own Film & TV production company, 'Create Anything'.
Directing diverse stories and creating a platform for the talent behind the camera are Stewart's primary goals. Representation is crucial, and we are well aware of the lack of inclusion off-screen. This is why Stewart created Reframe, a diverse TV, film & commercial talent pool
Navi Lamba - Podcast
Digital Commissioner, E4 and Entertainment
Navi Lamba, is a Digital Commissioner for E4 and Entertainment, and oversees the development and delivery of digital content across the channel as well as leading on the curation of C4’s upcoming teen strand. Navi joined E4 in 2020 from BBC Three where she was the head of social and led a range of social media innovations, overseeing campaigns for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Glow Up.
Derren Lawford - Studio session
Creative Director, Woodcut Media
Derren spent over a decade at the BBC where he helped launch 1Xtra, was Panorama’s first digital exec, secured a number of BBC Three commissions, was the Mutliplatform Exec for the award-winning Our War and helped launch the Global iPlayer in 16 territories around the globe. He then left to join youth engagement agency Livity as Head of Content, before joining London Live as a commissioner specialising in documentaries and breaking new talent on and off screen.
He is currently Creative Director at Woodcut Media where he is responsible for development, strategy as well as securing commissions, co-production and programme finance opportunities domestically and internationally. Executive Producer credits include Idris Elba documentaries Cut From A Different Cloth and Mandela, My Dad and Me, Fiennes: Return to the Nile and the BFI supported feature documentary, Generation Revolution, currently on Netlfix.
Aside from Woodcut, Derren is a Trustee for Sheffield Doc/Fest and on the Advisory Board for the David Lyle Foundation. He’s also a Documentary Mentor for Europe based filmmakers with the Documentary Campus Masterschool programme and for African documentary filmmakers via Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund.
Gabriella Leon - Thinking Aloud
Gabriella is a gregarious, northern, deaf Actor/Writer and Deviser. She graduated from East 15's Contemporary Theatre course in 2017 and is currently a series regular in BBC's Casualty, playing Nurse ‘Jade Lovall’. A pioneering Casualty episode showing the experience of Jade’s deafness, on the day she meets her birth mother- won a Royal Television Society Award for innovation, 2021. Gabriella is extremely passionate about the representation of disabilities in the creative industry. She drives to challenge and change attitudes and misconceptions in the arts around disabilities, invisible and visible. She’s a regular attendee at 'Danc' (Disabled Artist's Networking Community) events; and was a panellist at the Roundhouse's "Driving Change 2020" event, speaking about how to normalise and encourage invisible disability in our workplaces, theatres and on our screens. With a love for comedy and new writing Gabriella loves celebrating the weird and wonderful in all realms of theatre and screen.
Dafydd Llewellyn - Thinking Aloud
Dafydd Llewelyn is a writer and producer and feels his cartoon image is better than the real thing!
He has worked on shows in both Welsh and English languages such as Pobol y Cwm and Casualty for BBC Studios.
Originally from north Wales he's a board member of BBC Ability and his second novel was published last year.
John Maidens - Thinking Aloud
An Oceanographer/zoologist and scuba-diving instructor, John Maidens is profoundly deaf and a former Producer/Director at the BBC.
He has produced and directed Factual programmes, drama-documentaries and dramas for the BBC, ITV, C4, Channel 5, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Discovery.
Talent spotted by BAFTA; John is an award-winning writer/director. He directed the Peabody winning [email protected] CITY for the BBC DoNation season, an RTS Best Fiction for short film Caterpillar, a Deaffest Film Festival Best Screenwriter for DOT and a Casualty episode he directed won the 2021 RTS award and was a 2020 Rose D’Or finalist.
He is a member of the RTS West of England Board, the Directors UK Access & Inclusion Committee and co-chair of the Directors UK Disability Working Group. He is also consultant Executive producer for the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT).
Dawn McCarthy-Simpson MBE - Thinking Aloud
Managing Director of Business Development & Global Strategy, Pact
Dawn is an international development expert with over 25 years’ experience in the broadcast industry (television and radio). This includes Managing Director, Commercial Director and Broadcast Development Director roles at local, national and international television channels.
Dawn was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Exports in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Currently Dawn leads on both the business development and international strategy at Pact, creating strategic opportunities and activating projects which enhance global exploitation for the UK TV sector. In 2017 she launched the Global Creative Alliance, attracting 15 country partners to help stimulate co-production activity.
Darren McGarvey - Studio session
Hip hop artist, commentator, broadcaster
Darren McGarvey is a hip hop artist, commentator and broadcaster who in 2018 won The Orwell Prize for his debut book Poverty Safari.
Darren presented the recent BBC Scotland series Class Wars.
Steph McGovern - Thinking Aloud
Steph McGovern is the presenter of Steph's Packed Lunch on Channel 4. She is also a regular host of Have I Got News For You on BBC One.
Prior to this, Steph worked in financial journalism for over 15 years and spent eight years on BBC Breakfast. She presented Made in Great Britain for BBC Two and co-presented Watchdog, Shop Well For Less and Easy Ways to Live Well BBC One.
Originally from Middlesbrough, Steph started out as an engineer at Black & Decker. She is a mentor for young people in Teesside and a patron of the charity Rubies.
Derek McLean - Podcast
Managing Director, Bandicoot
Derek McLean is Managing Director of Bandicoot, the UK's fastest growing indie and producers of The Masked Singer UK. He is an Emmy award-winning TV producer with over 20 years’ experience in the industry in both the UK & USA.
As a freelance Series and Exec Producer, Derek gained a reputation for developing and launching new comedy & entertainment formats including Would I Lie To You, Charlie Brookers’ Screenwipe, John Bishop’s Britain and Tool Academy.
Prior to launching Bandicoot, Derek held senior industry roles including Creative Director, BBC Studios Entertainment; Global Head of Non Scripted, Lime Pictures & Head of Objective Scotland.
John McVay OBE - Thinking Aloud
Chief Executive, Pact
John McVay OBE is the Chief Executive of Pact the UK’s leading Trade Association for Film, TV, Animation, Children’s and Digital production companies. John contributes to many UK government and international policy fora on the creative industries, broadcasting, trade and investment. John has extensive experience of policy development across all aspects of broadcasting and television production and leads on all Pact policy development in the UK and Europe. He also maintains excellent relationships with all of the UK’s major political parties and the devolved assemblies and parliaments. John is currently; a Board member of the Creative Diversity Network, a member of the Creative Industries Council (CIC), an industry advisor to the AHRC Creative Industries programme, Industry board member of the British Film Commission, a board member of the Creative Cities Convention and is industry lead on UK Govt backed £500m Production Restart scheme.
Jane Millichip - Studio session
Chief Content Officer, Sky Studios
Jane is Chief Content Officer of Sky Studios where she is responsible for UK editorial activities in original drama, comedy and documentary. Jane also oversees Sky Studios’ commercial activities, including international deficit funding and production partnerships.
Previously, Jane was Managing Director of Sky Vision, Sky’s former production and distribution arm, which was merged into NBCU last October. At Sky Vision, Jane and the team grew the business from £8m revenues to £250m in six years, spearheading Sky’s investment into independent production companies and content distribution.
Jane started her career as a journalist, and since moving into TV, has been a commissioning editor, producer and distributor.
Jane is a Trustee of the Royal Television Society and a board member of the Edinburgh TV Festival and several UK and US production companies. She is also a Trustee of the environmental educational charity, SEEd.
Jane has seven sheep, Seamus the dog, two ‘almost adult’ sons, and a long-suffering husband - but not necessarily in that order of preference!
Paul Mortimer - Thinking Aloud
Head of Digital Channels & Acquisitions, ITV
Paul Mortimer has worked at ITV for 9 years, recently moving to head up programming within ITV’s On Demand division which includes the ITV Hub, ITV2, ItvBe and CITV.
Paul has overall responsibility for the commissioning, scheduling and acquisition of content for several of ITV’s channels which are also now very much focused on ITV’s VoD service, the Hub.
Under Paul’s leadership, ITV2 moved ahead of E4 to become the most watched digital channel for young adults. ‘Love Island’ has likely the highest profile of all of his shows. It is the biggest programme on television for 16-34yr olds, averaging around 2m of this premium demographic per episode, and delivering over 100m viewer interactions on the ITV Hub in 2019.
Paul’s other commissions include Don’t Hate The Playaz, The Stand Up Sketch Show, The Cabins & Celebrity Juice for ITV2, TOWIE and Sam & Billie: The Mummy Diaries for ITVBe, How and the Rubbish World of Dave Spud for CITV.
Before joining ITV in 2012, Paul spent five years at Channel 4, becoming the Head of E4. He has also worked for the Discovery Channel as well as Channel 5 but began his career at the ITV Network Centre in 1994.
Jane Muirhead - Thinking Aloud
Managing Director, Raise the Roof Productions
Jane co-founded Raise the Roof in 2010 and as MD oversees all business and commercial activities and sets the strategic direction of the company.
In almost 11 years, the company has delivered over 600 hours of network TV and sold to numerous countries worldwide. Under Jane’s leadership, Raise the Roof was in the top 20 Broadcast Best Places to Work in TV in 2017, 18 and 19 and in the top ten in 2020. Jane is Vice Chair of Pact Council and co-chairs the Scottish TV Working Group. She also sits on the Screen Skills TV Funding Committee and is Chair of Glasgow based TRC. Jane was awarded an honorary Professorship from Stirling University in 2018.
Jane is passionate about skills and the development of the next generation of talent. She encourages all staff at RTRP to engage and work collaboratively with local community groups, schools and further and higher education to help ensure the Scottish sector attracts and nurtures a diverse talent pool, ready to produce the best, world-class content.
Claire Mundell - Studio session
MD / Creative Director, Synchronicity Films
Claire Mundell is an award-winning creative executive and MD / Creative Director of Synchronicity Films. She exec-produced the BAFTA winning BBC One / ABC series, The Cry, a psychological thriller starring Jenna Coleman, adapted from Helen FitzGerald’s novel by Jacquelin Perske, which debuted to critical acclaim in the UK and internationally. Other recent credits include Karen Gillan's directorial debut, The Party's Just Beginning and BIFA nominated Only You, starring Laia Costa and Josh O'Connor. Through Synchronicity, Claire and team have an extensive slate of high-end scripted projects in development including a limited series adaptation of the Sunday Times / New York Times Bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Claire is a PACT Council Member and Co-Chair of Scotland’s TV Working Group. Prior to Synchronicity she enjoyed ten years at the BBC leading the Children’s BBC department at BBC Scotland, and latterly as an Executive Producer within BBC Drama.
Damian Murphy - Podcast
Professor in Sound and Music Computing, AudioLab
Damian Murphy is Professor in Sound and Music Computing at AudioLab in the Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York, where his research focuses on the development and creative application of immersive audio and virtual acoustic modelling. He is an active sound artist, and the Director of the £15m XR Stories Arts and Humanities Research Council funded Creative Industries R&D Partnership exploring the next generation of interactive and immersive storytelling for the UK’s creative screen industries.
Jez Nelson - Podcast
Founder, Exec Chairman and CEO Somethin' Else
Jez is the founder of Somethin’ Else. Over 29 years he has overseen the company’s growth into one of the UK’s most lauded and awarded content companies. The business makes content across TV, digital and audio for brands and broadcasters and is the UK’s leading independent producer of Podcasts.
At respected broadcast media leader Jez has worked extensively across TV, radio and digital as a producer, Exec and presenter. He’s a passionate creative who loves business, a business person with a creative flair.
He launched Somethin’ Else in 1991 with a personal investment of £500. He’s also been a TV presenter for Tomorrow’s World and a radio host for Kiss FM, BBC Radio 3 and 4 and Jazz FM.
Daniel Nettleton - Podcast
Creative Director, Bandicoot
Daniel Nettleton is Creative Director of Bandicoot, the UK’s fastest growing indie and producers of The Masked Singer UK. Daniel began his career as Terry Wogan’s warm-up man before moving in development at BBC Entertainment and RDF Media. He later set up the development team at Ant & Dec’s production company, Gallowgate.
He has also had a successful career in production as the UK’s leading games producer devising memorable challenges for I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and eight series of Big Brother, where he created and voiced the infamous Tree of Temptation. Prior to setting up Bandicoot, he spent six years at a variety of NBCUniversal labels as Head of Development and Head of Entertainment.
Clare Phillips - Podcast
Director of Social Purpose, ITV
Clare leads ITV's social purpose team which is focused on using the power of TV to inspire positive change in the UK and beyond. It aims to reflect and shape culture on mental and physical health; climate action, diversity & inclusion and giving back. In 2020 ITV published their net zero 2030 target and was the first broadcaster to require that all productions reduce their carbon footprint through albert certification. Last Autumn, ITV ran their first climate action campaign, The shows we never want to make, featuring Catastrophe Street, Saturday Night Blown Away and This Warming. The campaign set out ITV's ambition to produce the biggest shows with the smallest footprint and encouraged thousands of viewers to calculate their own carbon footprint too.
Ruth Pitt - Podcast
Journalist, consultant and executive producer
Ruth is co-founder and director of the Creative Cities Convention and chair of Leeds 2023. She was creative consultant on the successful Leeds bid for Channel 4’s new National HQ, garnering a Royal Television Society award for outstanding contribution to television.
Ruth’s consultancy company Under The Moon provides strategic support and creative mentoring across the cultural and screen landscape and has for six years run the Channel 4 Commissioning Mentor Network to support talent from broadly under-represented groups. She recently devised a screen sector strategy for Bradford Metropolitan District Council and works to broaden diversity and social inclusion in the screen industry.
Ruth is a former creative director of documentaries at BBC Religion and Ethics, head of documentaries at Granada Television, head of factual at Tiger Aspect Productions, founder of Real Life Productions and advisory chair of the Edinburgh International Television Festival. She has a column on culture in the Yorkshire Evening Post and regularly interviews writers, celebrities and politicians at live events.
Simon Pitts - Thinking Aloud
Chief Executive, STV
STV Chief Executive, appointed to the Board in January 2018. Previously, Simon was a member of the executive board of ITV plc, holding the position of Managing Director, Online, Pay TV, Interactive & Technology. Over a 17 year career there, Simon held a range of senior roles and, as Director of Strategy, was one of the main architects of the company’s transformation under Archie Norman and Adam Crozier and also oversaw strong growth in ITV’s digital businesses. Simon was also on the board of news provider ITN for 8 years and prior to ITV, worked in the European Parliament. He is Vice Chair of the Royal Television Society and a trustee of the STV Children’s Appeal and literary charity Oscar’s Book Prize.
Ade Rawcliffe - Studio session
Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion, ITV
Ade Rawcliffe is Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion at ITV, and is a member of the Management Board. She has responsibility for all diversity and inclusion related matters across the Group, including leading, developing and growing ITV’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy on and off screen.
Prior to that, Ade led the Creative Diversity team at Channel 4 and spearheaded the delivery of the broadcaster’s 360° Diversity Charter. She oversaw the creation of C4’s Commissioning Diversity Guidelines and developed programmes through diverse funding vehicle the Alpha Fund.
Rawcliffe was also part of the team responsible for C4’s coverage of Rio 2016 Paralympics and London 2012 Paralympics, which broke records for employing disabled presenters and production staff.
Ade also worked in the Features Commissioning team at C4 and as Television Producer at the BBC, ITV and in the independent sector working on shows including: Big Brother, The Big Breakfast and This Morning. She is a Chair of BAFTA’s Learning, Inclusion and Talent Committee, a Board Member of Women in Film & Television (WFTV), Founding Board Member of Times UP UK and a Trustee of the National Trust.
Sanjay Singhal - Studio session
Chief Executive, Voltage
Sanjay is an award-winning executive producer with more than 25 years’ experience of programme-making.
At Voltage he has overseen a wide-ranging slate including the BAFTA nominated feature doc, One Deadly Weekend in America (BBC Three), The British Tribe Next Door (C4) Our DNA Journey, Life Inside Jail (ITV) and Inside the Factory (BBC Two).
Before that he spent nearly 15 years at the BBC, and was MD of factual indie, Dragonfly Film and TV.
Jo Street - Thinking Aloud
Head of Daytime and Features and Head of Hub (Glasgow) C4
Jo Street is Channel 4’s Head of Daytime and Features and Head of Hub, Glasgow. Alongside her team who are based in Leeds, Bristol and London, she commissions for daytime and peak across Channel 4 and More 4. In spring 2020 she launched the daily live Leeds-based show Steph’s Packed Lunch which has just been recommissioned for another year.
Previously Jo spent 25 years at the BBC where she worked on everything from Countryfile to Weakest Link and commissioned shows like Homes Under the Hammer.
Jo has lived in Glasgow since 2008 and is a proud and vocal advocate of Out of London production and Channel 4’s 4 All The UK strategy.
Charlie Swinbourne - Thinking Aloud
Writer, director, journalist
Charlie Swinbourne is a writer, director and journalist. He has written for Jimmy McGovern's Moving On, Casualty, CBBC and won an RTS Yorkshire Writer Award for his groundbreaking sketch show, Deaf Funny. Charlie has also written for the Guardian and BBC Online and edits the blog Limping Chicken.
Kate Thomas - Studio session
Commissioning Editor, Daytime & Features, Channel 4
Kate Thomas is a Commissioning Editor in the Daytime & Features team at Channel 4, and is based in the Bristol Hub.
Since joining Channel 4 two years ago, Kate has commissioned a range of new series into daytime and peak, including the new launch from Welsh indie Chwarel, The Great House Giveaway and series one of Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country, which was Channel 4’s most successful brand new 8pm launch of 2020.
Prior to joining Channel 4, Kate Thomas was Creative Director at ITV owned Boom in Wales, where she looked after winning new network commissions across multiple genres, including factual for ITV and the BBC, kids for CITV and scripted for Channel 5. Prior to joining Boom, Kate was a Head of Development at BBC Studios.
Kate is a passionate advocate for commissioning in the Nations and Regions, and this is borne out in the content she has commissioned thus far in her role.
Ruth Underwood - Studio session
Development Producer, Synchronicity Films Australia
Ruth heads up the Australian office of Synchronicity Films. Ruth was an integral part of the script team on Synchronicity's BBC/ ABC show THE CRY. Since then, Ruth has been working to extend Synchronicity’s network in the Southern Hemisphere, building relationships with Australia’s significant writing talent, and developing projects for their blossoming international slate, as well as their domestic Australian slate. Ruth played a key role in Synchronicity’s acquisition of the screen rights to Sunday Times and New York Times best-seller THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ and is now Story Producing the adaptation, managing the editorial process and working closely with lead writer, Jacquelin Perske.
Previously in the UK Ruth was a Script Editor, Development Executive, Assistant Producer and Story Producer for STV Productions, Shed Productions, BBC and Kudos – her credits include Taggart, Waterloo Road, Stonemouth, and Clique. Ruth and Synchronicity MD/ Creative Director Claire Mundell first worked together at BBC Drama in Scotland.
Kirsty Wark - Studio sessions and podcasts
Host of Creative Cities Convention
Our host Kirsty Wark has built up a reputation as one of the UK’s most formidable and versatile television journalists. She is best known as an anchor on the BBC’s flagship news and current affairs show Newsnight. In addition, Kirsty presents many arts and cultural programmes including the annual Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and has fronted many documentaries for BBC Television including the critically acclaimed Blurred Lines: The New Battle of the Sexes, The Insider’s Guide To The Menopause which was nominated for a BAFTA, The Trial of Alex Salmond, and most recently the four part series, The Years That Changed Modern Scotland. She has had cameos in several dramas and films including Dr Who, and AbFab, the movie. She is the presenter of The Reunion on Radio 4, and part of the roster presenting Start The Week. She is also an author, presently writing her third novel.
Away from the studio lights, food, architecture and design are her passions. She reached the final in Celebrity MasterChef in 2011 and was crowned top celebrity baker on The Great British Bake Off for Comic Relief.
Kirsty has several major accolades to her name including BAFTA Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter.
Miranda Wayland - Studio session
Head of Creative Diversity, BBC
Miranda Wayland is the Head of Creative Diversity at the BBC. She sits on the Content Board overseeing the overall on-air, onscreen diversity and inclusion strategies across output; supporting the commissioning teams and independent suppliers to drive change, increase representation and ensure the BBC delivers against its strategic goals and public purpose.
She provides specialised knowledge, expertise, plans, develops and implements effective interventions related to on-air talent portrayal, diverse audience panels, monitoring and reporting that will further strengthens a culture of diversity and inclusion. Previously, Miranda held the role of Interim Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Diversity Lead for Radio and Education as well as BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial production arm that creates world-class programmes including Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders.
Miranda was awarded inspirational leader by the Precious Awards, received a 'Special Recognition Award’ at the Asian Media Awards and is a guest speaker at several summits and conferences for Media and non-media events.
Charlene White - Thinking Aloud
Presenter and journalist, ITV
Charlene White is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years experience in the industry. She's worked in the UK and abroad - in both print and broadcasting. She began as a feature writer for the New York Post, then as a trainee producer for ITV Meridian. She then moved to the BBC to begin her broadcasting career at BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra as a reporter and presenter. She later landed her own show on BBC London 94.9, presented for the BBC News Channel, BBC Five Live, and BBC Three. At ITV she's lead presenter of ITV News London, and a regular presenter of Evening News. She's also the first black woman to present ITV News At Ten. She's presented several documentaries for the "Tonight" and "On Assignment" strands. She was also part of the presenting team for the ITV's 2018 Royal Wedding programme. She recently joined the Loose Women team as an occasional host. She also regularly writes for publications including The Guardian and the Daily Mail. She's a mentor to aspiring journalists, and works with various organisations to achieve better representation of women and minorities in the industry.
Professor David Wilson - Podcast
Criminologist and broadcaster
David Wilson is Professor of Criminology at Birmingham City University and Director of the University’s Centre for Criminal Justice Policy and Research.
David regularly appears on TV and radio talking about the criminal justice system and is the author of numerous books. His expertise can often be found on the pages of national papers such as The Times and the Guardian, and on news programmes such as Sky News and Tonight with Trevor McDonald, concerning high profile murder cases such as those of Meredith Kercher and Raoul Moat.
Prior to taking up his academic appointment in 1997, Professor Wilson was a prison governor and worked at HMP’s Wormwood Scrubs, Grendon and Woodhill – where he helped to design and run the two units for the twelve most disruptive prisoners in the country, experiences which brought him into contact with a number of British serial killers.
In 2015 David was on our screens acting as the Borstal Governor in ITV’s series Bring Back Borstal and is currently presenting Killer Psychopaths on Channel 5 the first episode was watched by 1.3 million people.
Kelly Ann Woodland - Thinking Aloud
Presenter and journalist, STV
Kelly Ann Woodland presents the flagship programme, STV News at Six, each weeknight to around half a million viewers. She started her broadcasting career in local radio but moved quickly into television and has been with STV for the past 18 years. Starting as a News Assistant, Kelly Ann progressed to production journalist then
Sioned Wyn - Studio session
Managing Director, Chwarel
Ex Granada and former Newsnight journalist Sioned Wyn now runs Chwarel – the North Wales indie that’s behind the massively successful C4 Daytime format – The Great House Giveaway .
The series is also made in Welsh for S4C. Chwarel is one of C4’s Emerging Indies and is currently in development with several other projects for C4.