BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial production and distribution arm, has announced the appointment of Edward Barnieh as Vice President of Development, BBC Studios Kids & Family; and promotion of Alexandra McGrail as Head of Commercial, BBC Studios Kids & Family.
The newly created senior roles at the heart of Kids & Family form part of the new division’s restructure designed to support its ambitious growth plans. Barnieh, who joins November 21, and McGrail, already in post at BBC Studios in Salford, will both report to Cecilia Persson, Managing Director, BBC Studios Kids & Family.
“Our ambition is to deliver high quality content that leaves a lasting impression and has the power to make a difference to the lives of kids and their families everywhere. Attracting the very best talent, forging creative partnerships and focusing on making programming that reflects and inspires children will help us achieve this,” said Persson. “I’m delighted that Edward and Alexandra will be using their considerable talent and experience to help deliver our ambition.”
Vice President of Development Edward Barnieh will lead a hugely talented development production team across a large portfolio of development projects, providing expert creative direction across multiple genres, managing transition from development to production — while assessing marketplace opportunities and risks.
A hugely experienced content leader and storyteller with a demonstrated history of success developing content for major broadcasters and working with independent studios, Barnieh joins BBC Studios from Netflix, where his roles included Manager, Animation Series, EMEA, based in London and Manager, International Originals, Kids & Family, APAC, based in Singapore. Prior to that he spent some seven years at Warner Bros. Discovery in Hong Kong, where he was latterly Director, Acquisitions and Co-productions; and over five years at Nickelodeon in similar roles.
“I’m really excited to join BBC Studios Kids & Family at a key period of growth for the business and can’t wait to help it deliver even more hits,” said Barnieh. “Its shows are beloved around the world and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to lead this brilliant team, and work with exciting new talent, to create tomorrow’s ground-breaking, entertaining and cherished content.”
Head of Commercial Alexandra McGrail will lead a high-performing commercial and business development team, identifying and securing commercial opportunities for kids’ content and managing the total commercial Kids & Family budget. She brings a wealth of knowledge of children’s content partnerships from her previous role as Senior Commercial Manager, BBC Studios, which she took up in May 2021 on her return to the BBC.
While Business Manager for BBC Children’s in 2015, McGrail became one of the six Assistant Commissioners from BAME backgrounds who were recruited on the then BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore’s diversity scheme, working with the Controllers of CBBC & CBeebies helping to implement their channel strategies, and engaging with in-house and independent production companies to develop fresh new ideas and encourage new business and creativity for BBC Children’s. Prior to re-joining the BBC, she was Senior Commercial Manager at Argonon, Commercial Manager at Leopard Pictures and an Editor at Channel 4.
“I’m passionate about young audiences, digital content and new talent and excited that this new role allows me to combine these passions and help create inspiring, sustainable brands that will resonate with kids globally,” said McGrail. “Building dynamic commercial plans and opportunities will drive Kids and Family’s growth and I cannot wait to get started!”
Formed in 2022 with the move of BBC Children’s In-house Production into BBC Studios Productions, BBC Studios Kids & Family boasts a multi-genre portfolio including some of the most successful franchises in the world, with BAFTA- and International Emmy-winning titles including Blue Peter, Bluey, Get Even, Hey Duggee, JoJo & Gran Gran, My Mum Tracy Beaker, Sarah & Duck and Something Special. Its productions air on BBC Children’s in the U.K., on the multi-territory CBeebies and BBC Kids branded services and on leading content platforms around the world.
Read more about the new division’s plans in Animation Magazine‘s recent interview with Head of Animation Development Zoe Bamsey and Production Creative Director Tony Reed here.