BBC Studios 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 growth plans. Barnieh and McGrail will both report to Cecilia Persson, managing director, BBC Studios Kids & Family.

Barnieh will lead a 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.

McGrail will lead a commercial and business development team, identifying and securing commercial opportunities for kids’ content and managing the total commercial Kids & Family budget.

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.

McGrail brings 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. When business manager for BBC Children’s in 2015, she 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.

Announcing the appointments, Cecilia Persson says: “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. I’m delighted that Edward and Alexandra will be using their considerable talent and experience to help deliver our ambition.”

Edward Barnieh said: “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. 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.”

Alexandra McGrail added: “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. Building dynamic commercial plans and opportunities will drive Kids and Family’s growth and I cannot wait to get started!”

Barnieh joins on 21 November 2022, and will be based in London, whilst McGrail is already in post and is based at BBC Studios in Salford.


Pippa Considine

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