Janine Thomas, has been appointed as Commissioning Editor Current Affairs for the Channel 4 youth strand Untold and will directly report to Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs, Specialist Factual and Sport.
Now in its second series, the strand has produced titles such as Inside the Shein Machine, Jessie Lingard, Life after Love Island and The Secrets of UK Prisons.
The focus of the strand has been to “produce films that speak to younger viewers on the subjects they care about, fronted by diverse and authentic voices from across the UK.” It has also been used to find new talent and to expand the pool of production companies that currently supply content to the wider department.
Since January 23, Thomas has held the role of Commissioning Editor, Documentaries working with Rita Daniels and taking on the day-to-day running of the strand First Cut. She has also been across the long running First Dates as well as series two of Night Coppers and the new series of 24 Hours in A&E. Her other responsibilities included working with on and off screen talent.
She was previously at Sky UK where she delivered a string of shows across the broadcaster’s Documentaries, Crime and Nature channels. Highlights included Arrow Pictures’ Grierson and Edinburgh nominated Positive: 30 Years Of HIV In Britain, Minnow’s Mother Teresa, Top Hat’s Look Away, and Blast!’s Italia ’90 series.
Thomas also launched the Doc Shorts Initiative that offered emerging film-makers with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds access to a £500,000 fund to direct cinematic short films.
Previously at Channel 4, Thomas was Documentaries Assistant Editor and worked across a slate including, Damilola: The Boy Next Door, Secret Life of the Zoo and 24 Hours in A&E. Additionally she commissioned into the digital Factual strand True Stories and E4. She also championed Black History Month programming, such as Gal-dem presents; Black British History, comedian Mo Gilligan’s Black British & Funny and the film series Take Your Knee off my Neck, a response to the killing of George Floyd.
Janine Thomas, Commissioning Editor said: “ I’m deeply proud to be overseeing this digital series that has proved to be a great success amongst our key demographic. Untold has now established itself as a vehicle for distinctive journalism and nurturing new talent.
“Its success has been down to Debbie’s leadership and the N&CA team. I am very much looking forward to commissioning some ground-breaking content and working with both new and established companies.”
Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs, Specialist Factual and Sport added: “Debbie is a hard act to follow but I’m so excited to see what Janine does with the strand. She’s seriously impressed me with her passion for the audience and her instinctive understanding of what makes a good film. I’m sure Untold will go from strength to strength under her guidance”
On the First Cut Stand Rita Daniels, Commissioning Editor said: “First Cut remains the home of the first time film-maker and a launch pad to successful careers. In recent times I am particularly proud of titles such as The Real East Enders and The Boy Who Can’t Stop Dancing -the director of which, Poppy Goodheart, has just completed a feature film focussed on the teacher in The Piano. First Cut will continue to creatively evolve by finding fresh voices, such as rising star Catherine Hart who is making her first film with The Garden.”
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