Ex C4 ceo David Abraham’s new Wonderhood Studios company has set up a new unscripted programming team with with Samantha Anstiss as lead.
Anstiss is to join the new company as a co-founder and Creative Director – Unscripted, reporting to chief executive David Abraham. She joins from the BBC’s Auntie Productions where she was Creative Director.
Also joining Wonderhood Studios is Emma Lorenz, who takes the role of Deputy Creative Director – Unscripted, and who will run development across unscripted genres.
The appointments are announced in the week that Wonderhood Studios opens for business in London. The company aims to produce both programming for broadcasters and platforms and, in an adjacent studio, to create content for major brands. Wonderhood is soon announce its creative agency studio team. Further senior appointments in content production will be made in the future as it expands into new genres including Entertainment and Drama.
Anstiss joins from Auntie Productions, the creative label that she jointly established three years ago. Auntie’s titles include Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby, which was the highest-rating new factual series on BBC2 in 2017 and has been sold around the world including to Netflix and Nat Geo. She is currently in production with a new Channel 4 series that has just been commissioned and she will join Wonderhood Studios in October.
Before establishing Auntie Productions, Anstiss was a BBC commissioner working in the Documentaries commissioning team and previously in Features and Formats. Her commissions include the BAFTA-winning Life and Death Row (BBC Three), BAFTA-nominated Keeping Britain Alive (BBC Two), The Call Centre (BBC Three), A Very British Airline (BBC Two) and Iceland Foods (BBC Two) as well as BBC One’s Pound Shop Wars and Britain on the Fiddle, which both reached over 5 million viewers. She also worked on the documentaries for Comic Relief and Sports Relief and ran the BBC’s Fresh scheme for first-time directors. Before this, she was an executive producer in Current Affairs.
David Abraham said, “Wonderhood aims to attract recognised and respected talent from different parts of the creative industries and provide an exciting environment for new forms of collaboration. There are very few creative executives working in TV who have demonstrated such range, quality and consistency of original output as Sam, which is why I am so delighted that she will join us as a co-founder and the first Creative Director in our content studio.”
Samantha Anstiss said, “Wonderhood offers a fantastic opportunity for creatives from many disciplines to work together in a really innovative way. It will be a fun, dynamic and inspiring place where the best people come to do their best work in a nurturing and supportive environment. David’s extensive track record in broadcasting and brands and his experience in supporting big ideas, backing creative risk and talent was irresistible. We look forward to producing impactful and entertaining programmes that say something new about the world we live in.”
Emma Lorenz, who joins Wonderhood Studios in July, is a BAFTA, Grierson and RTS award-winning Director of Development who has secured factual commissions across all the major channels. As Director of Development at Lion Television, she secured 26 commissions across her three years there, including: BBC One’s RAF 100 with Ewan & Colin McGregor and Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed with Mary Beard; Channel 4’s World’s Most Luxurious Airline, Secret Life of the Holiday Resort and British Army Girls; and BBC Two’s upcoming series Kibbutz. Previously she was at the BBC and held roles including Head of Documentaries Development and Head of Factual Entertainment Development, winning commissions across all the BBC channels including The Met (BBC One), Life and Death Row (BBC Three) and Our World War (BBC Three). Prior to the BBC, she worked in the Factual department of ITV Studios where commissions for ITV ranged from formats such as Popstar to Opera Star to talent-led documentaries like David Jason: The Battle of Britain.
“Emma is smart, strategic and brimming with ideas; she is always challenging herself to create the next big thing. With these appointments, our unscripted capability is getting off to a great start. We are looking forward to developing big ideas for channels and platforms both here in the UK and internationally all of which will benefit from our new approach,” added Abraham.
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