BBC Studios’ Executive Producer Aysha Rafaele is joining the BBC Studios-backed Firebird.

Firebird is the drama indie set up in 2019 by Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. BBC Studios has a 25% stake in Firebird and is the global distribution partner for all its content.

Known for films such as The Left Behind, Killed By My Debt, Murdered For Being Different, Against The Law and Murdered By My Father, Rafaele will bring her development slate with her when she starts with Firebird this month.

Rafaele has a strong factual background and before focusing solely on drama was responsible for programmes including executive producing some of Louis Theroux’s documentaries (SavileDrinking to OblivionBy Reason of InsanityTransgender Kids), BBC Three’s hit The Call Centre and four-part series Life and Death Row: The Mass Execution. Before that, she spent ten years as a documentary and drama director, making films ranging from an exploration of the Asian underground music scene in RTS award-winning film This England through to a BAFTA nominated exploration of the life of the poet Stevie Smith. Her last directing credit was on C4’s iconic teen drama series Skins.

Aysha Rafaele said: “I’m thrilled to be embarking on an exhilarating new adventure with Firebird Pictures. Liz has championed and produced some outstanding drama of scale and ambition and I’m really looking forward to working closely with her and Craig, to help take my projects to the next level and expand into exciting new territories. I can’t wait to get started”.

Elizabeth Kilgarriff said:  “We are very pleased to welcome Aysha to Firebird – she is a brilliant producer and someone I have admired for a long time.  Her passion for championing the next generation of British story-tellers makes her a natural fit for us, and her bold and ambitious slate brings a rich seam of new ideas and talent to Firebird.  It’s a very exciting collaboration and perfect start to 2022!”

Mark Linsey, Chief Creative Officer, BBC Studios said: “Aysha is an exceptional programme-maker, whose impressive body of work includes an array of powerful, agenda-setting films, steeped in new talent. We are so proud of the award-winning programmes she has made with us and delighted she is staying in the BBC Studios family.”

Firebird has landed two primetime series commissions in its first two years –Wilderness adapted by Marnie Dickens for Amazon Prime Video and the Nikki May debut Wahala, adapted by Theresa Ikoko for BBC One.  Both will shoot in 2022 in the US, Canada and London.

Jon Creamer

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