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Drama indie Firebird Pictures is continuing its expansion with the signed BBC Studios exec Aysha Rafaele as an executive producer.

Rafaele joins the BBCS-backed indie after four years heading up BBCS’ drama hub, where she executive produced fact-based dramas including Murdered for Being Different and Killed By My Debt.

She joins recent Firebird recruits Nikki Saunders (director of production), Andin Ngwa (development executive) and Sarah Wyatt (development producer).

Set up in 2019 by Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth, Firebird is gearing up to film its first two commissions this year: BBC1 drama Wahala and Amazon Prime drama Wilderness.

Rafaele has straddled factual and drama throughout her career. Her previous BBC Studios role was as creative director of the documentaries unit, where she worked for six years on shows such as Princess Margarey: The Rebel Royal and Inside the Foreign Office and several Louis Theroux programmes.

She has also headed up Channel 4's new documentary director scheme First Cut and started out as a director of documentaries and dramas, including C4 youth drama Skins.

Kilgariff praised Rafaele’s “passion for championing the next generation of British storytellers”, while BBCS chief creative officer Mark Linsey hailed her as “an exceptional programme-maker, whose impressive body of work includes an array of powerful, agenda-setting films, steeped in new talent”.


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