Specialist factual producer Big Wave Productions has appointed a new Managing Director and expanded and rejigged its senior management team.

Kirstie McLure takes up the role of Managing Director with immediate effect.  An Emmy award-winning leader in Specialist Factual content, McLure was Managing Director of Pioneer Productions from 2012 to 2016. Big Wave founder Sarah Cunliffe moves from the MD role to become Founder & CEO.  Long-term creatives Mark Woodward and Emma Ross become Creative Directors of Big Wave to work alongside McLure and Cunliffe to build the company’s creative vision and output.

Sarah Cunliffe, Founder & CEO, Big Wave Productions, says: “This is a hugely exciting appointment that will help us to accelerate our growth .  Kirstie’s appointment, coupled with the strengthening of the wider senior team, allows us to scale up our capacity to meet the increased demand we have seen for our programming.  Kirstie is known for creating hundreds of hours of specialist factual programming for UK, US and international broadcasters. We have a tremendous overlap in our shared interests and vision for the company.  We couldn’t ask for a better Managing Director.”

Whilst at Pioneer Productions, McLure drove the company’s expansion beyond its science remit, growing their output in fast-turnaround science documentaries, lifestyle and natural history.  She also set up the company’s LA office. McLure pioneered cutting-edge technologies into production and produced some of Pioneer’s most successful series, including the Emmy award-winning In the Womb; Emmy award-winning Tsunami: Wave that shook the World; Emmy award-winning factual drama Hindenburg – the Untold Story; Emmy award-winning CGI feature doc Journey to the Edge of the Universe and the YouTube Channel Naked Science. She also positioned the company for sale to Tinopolis Group.  In 2017, McLure founded Televators, a media consultancy supporting growing indies.

Kirstie McLure says: “Big Wave has been at the forefront of  blue sky innovative specialist factual programming for some time.  Their ability to combine ‘deep-dive’ stories and the most outstanding visuals with passion and true understanding of the genre is exceptional.  Not only are they producing content of the highest quality for broadcasters, their content inspires audiences and helps make real change. Never have I seen a company put so much heart and soul into its storytelling.   I’m thrilled to be joining the team and cannot wait to get started.”

The further strengthening of the senior management team also sees Emma Ross and Mark Woodward promoted to Creative Directors:

Biologist Emma Ross has been Big Wave’s Head Of Development since 2008, overseeing the slate and working with the team to originate, shape and greenlight new projects. With more than two decades prior experience, Ross has produced, written and directed wildlife and science documentaries for broadcasters worldwide.

Mark Woodward has been a director and Series Producer at Big Wave for the last  10 years. From ambitious underwater stunts to complex science series, he has produced, directed and edited some of Big Wave’s most successful shows. He has received numerous awards for his work with broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, National Geographic, Discovery, and Animal Planet.

Sarah Cunliffe adds: “Our team is immersed in the natural world.  We want to tell incredible stories, stories that really make a difference for broadcasters wanting to make an impact.  Emma and Mark have exceptional experience in this area.  They live and breathe these stories and have made the most exceptional programming during their time with Big Wave.   They are the perfect addition to our senior team.

“All these new appointments come hard on the heels of a successful year which saw the company win commissions and shoot throughout Covid.  Our new projects for Nat Geo, Discovery and Smithsonian are all now in post, with a wide range of new commissions in the pipeline. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the company.”

Jon Creamer