Former Amazon Studios Head, Dan Grabiner’s new indie Orchard Studios, has made a trio of major hires to join the senior creative team.

Grabiner and Managing Director Nicola Hill will be joined by two big-name unscripted creatives, with award-winning executive producer Nat Lippiett and BBC factual-entertainment commissioner Clare Mottershead taking on key roles at the new business.

Lippiett, whose credits include last year’s Harry: The Interview, Prime Video documentary series The Confession and Queen’s Green Planet with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Sir David Attenborough, joins as Head of Programmes. A long-time ITN executive with a background in journalism and programme-making, he has experience in both the UK and US as a director, executive producer and creator of major documentaries and popular factual.

Factual-entertainment executive Mottershead will become Orchard’s Head of Factual & Formats, moving on from her role as the BBC’s Lead Commissioner in the Factual-Entertainment and Events team. She joins following six years in the department where she oversaw more than 30 titles including Interior Design Masters, Hugh’s War on Plastic and The Speedshop, most recently commissioning formats such as Amanda and Alan’s Italian Job, The Fast and the Farmer-ish and Designing the Hebrides. She also oversaw juggernaut heritage brands including The Antiques Roadshow and Countryfile. Before joining the BBC in 2017 she was an Executive Producer across development and production at Dragonfly where her credits included Kill It, Cook It, Eat It and One Born Every Minute.

Orchard has also recruited Dani Carpanen who will join the company as Senior Producer. Carpanen is an established series producer and director, having cut her teeth on hit UK factual formats such as The Baby Borrowers, The Restaurant, The Call Centre and Hospital, before moving on to large-scale, global projects such as Disney+’s Save Our Squad with David Beckham and Nat Geo’s One Day in America.

Lippiett said “I am thrilled to be joining Orchard and to be part of a group encouraging creative partnerships and collaboration. We are building a home for top talent – new and established – and a company that nurtures diverse and original ideas.”

Mottershead said “Being a commissioner is a privileged job and I’ve been doubly lucky to have had an incredible team at the BBC and the chance to work with so many talented production companies. But I’m ready for my next challenge and am hugely excited about joining the team at Orchard and helping to grow a slate of creatively ambitious and distinctive ideas of scale.”

Carpanen said “Dan has been a phenomenal mentor to me for a long time, and I am delighted to be joining him and the Orchard team at the start of such an exciting new venture.”

Grabiner said “Nat, Clare and Dani are best-in-class creative leaders with knockout track records in developing, producing and launching bold, innovative unscripted programming. Together, we’re building a modern, global, world-class production company, creating must-watch factual-entertainment formats and impactful box-set documentaries.”


Jon Creamer

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