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BBC Studios Productions is hunting for a new chief executive after Ralph Lee announced he will step down in April.

Lee joined the BBC’s commercial arm in 2018 as director of content for BBC Studios, taking on his current role when the BBC created a single production hub for scripted, factual, global entertainment and kids and family.

BBC Studios chief executive Tom Fussell said Lee’s leadership had been a “gamechanger”, picking up commissions from third parties including Channel 4 and UKTV and streamers Apple TV+, Amazon, Netflix and Disney+, as well as steering production during the Covid pandemic.

Fussell singled out “the deeply personal approach and investment Ralph’s brought to our programme-making culture”.

The BBC Studios Productions chief executive role’s remit spans many flagship BBC brands, including  Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders, Doctor Who and Silent Witness plus natural history shows like Planet Earth III and events like Eurovision and royal coverage.

It also includes international BBC Studios production and oversight of BBCS labels and indies in which the organisation has a stake, including House Productions, Lookout Point, Clerkenwell, Voltage TV, Sid Gentle Films and Firebird Pictures. Streets of Gold: Mumbai indie Forest, run by Mobeen Azhar and Jeremy Lee, this week signed a development deal with BBCS.

Prior to the BBC, Lee was synonymous with Channel 4, where he was latterly deputy chief creative officer. He joined the broadcaster in 2002, as specialist factual commissioning editor and bar a brief stint as Channel 5 head of factual, he stayed with C4 as deputy and then head of specialist factual, as well as head of factual.

Lee said he is leaving to “pursue a new challenge outside the organisation.”


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