Minnow Films has announced a raft of new appointments and promotions, with “more to follow”, as part of a “significant restructure” and growth plan.
Director of Programmes Sophie Leonard has been promoted to Creative Director. In her new role, reporting to CEO and founder Morgan Matthews, she will have increased responsibility across the development slate and creative direction of the company.
New appointments include Sophie Jones as Executive Producer, Mark Raeburn as Chief Finance Officer and Louise Murray as Director of Production; Louise Malkinson has been promoted to Executive Producer; and further appointments to the development team will be announced shortly.
Matthews said: “I’m delighted to be in a position to unveil such a stellar raft of appointments and promotions and am looking forward to revealing more in the coming weeks. Minnow Films has always been about bringing exceptional talent to the fore and delivering outstanding programmes, so I’m thrilled that we’re able to continue that ethos by growing our brilliant team, both creatively and operationally.
“We’ve always been ambitious in our programme-making, and with these new appointments we are bringing that ambition to the company as a whole as we expand our capability to produce premium content for domestic broadcasters and global platforms. With the fantastic incoming team and the superb talent we already have, we are very much looking forward to the possibilities ahead.”
Sophie Leonard joined Minnow Films in 2016 to look after the hit constructed factual series SAS: Who Dares Wins – and developed the Celebrity SAS brand in 2018. SAS is now in its 6th series for the civilians and 3rd series for celebrities and is now firmly established as one of Channel 4’s highest rating factual shows.
Her recent executive producer credits include: The BBC ONE documentary Katie Price: Harvey and Me; BBC2’s four-part series Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom; The 90-minute BBC2 documentary The Case of Sally Challen; BBC 3’s hit series’ Valley Cops, Canny Cops and Ibiza Dreams; Channel 4’s Yorkshire Jobcentre. Amongst other projects, she is currently co-exec-ing a new BBC TWO constructed specialist factual series with Stacey Dooley about DNA.
Prior to joining Minnow, she worked across documentary and factual singles and series, as both a director and producer. She was responsible for Series Producing the first series of the hugely popular Channel 4 series First Dates and also cast Lord Sugar on the first series of The Apprentice.
Leonard said: “I’m delighted to become Minnow’s Creative Director at such an exciting time in the company’s growth. Minnow is expanding its output, reaching into new corners of the domestic and global TV market and as much as it’s been a challenging year, covid has made us broaden our horizons in a way that has been both creatively stimulating and liberating. I look forward to working closely with Morgan, Clare and the amazingly talented team at Minnow to ensure we continue making thoughtful, high quality, entertaining television.”
Matthews said: “Sophie has grown to become the lynchpin of Minnow, responsible for developing and delivering many outstanding series and films which, whilst sometimes dealing with potentially challenging subject matter, are always accessible, compelling and beautifully made. Sophie embodies the Minnow DNA, combining an intuition for great storytelling and highest-bar quality with enormous empathy for the subjects of the projects she works on. She is a true TV lover who cares passionately about her work and I am very proud to work alongside her in her new role as Creative Director.”
Sophie Jones was previously at Story Films where she series produced Losing It: Our Mental Health Emergency and NHS Heroes: Fighting to Save Our Lives for Channel 4. Prior to this her series producing and directing credits include multiple award-winning Hospital for BBC2 and BAFTA-nominated 24 Hours in A&E for Channel 4. She has also produced and directed on the BAFTA-winning One Born Every Minute and BAFTA-nominated The Undateables.
Jones said: “Joining Minnow is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a team with an exceptional film-making reputation. Minnow is consistently raising the bar and pushing creative boundaries and I’m excited for the ambitious, creative challenges ahead at a time when documentaries are pushing into new territories with great potential.”
Jones reports to Leonard, who said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Sophie to Minnow in an Exec role. She’s incredibly well respected and well liked in the industry. Her unwavering enthusiasm, commitment and talent for making ‘must watch tv’ is second to none. She’s an asset to our senior team and we are very excited that she’s joined the company.”
Mark Raeburn has more than 25 years’ experience in television finance, having spent a large part of his career at Channel 4, where he was the finance head responsible for the entire Channel 4 programme budget for eight years. He has also spent a number of years working for independent productions companies in various Finance Director/CFO/consulting capacities, including current responsibilities of MD and CFO for Renowned Films alongside other consulting roles.
Raeburn said: “Minnow Films are one of those rare indies that are still truly independent, creatively at the top of their game and producing a huge volume of hours each and every year, across all networks. I’m proud to be working with Morgan, Sophie, Clare and the team, and looking forward to helping drive the business to even greater successes.”
Raeburn reports to Minnow MD Clare Voyce, who said: “We’re delighted to have Mark in the role of CFO. He is very well-respected, lovely to work with and brings vast experience across television finance. We’re very lucky to have him join our senior team to help us evolve and manage a successful future for Minnow.”
Louise Murray, currently Director of Production, Television at Barcroft Studios, will join Minnow at the beginning of March. Previously, she worked at Wall to Wall where her credits include Who Do You Think You Are? for BBC 1 and Child Genius for Channel 4.
She said: “Minnow is a great company and I am delighted to be joining. Their track record of thought-provoking films makes it a hugely exciting team to be part of.”
Murray will report to Voyce, who said: “We’re very much looking forward to Louise joining at this busy time. She brings a wealth of experience and passion for factual programming. We’re excited for her to lead our talented and dedicated production teams as we continue to produce ambitious and high-quality programmes.”
Louise Malkinson has been promoted to Executive Producer having series produced two out of three of Minnow’s BAFTA-nominated The Detectives series for BBC2. Based in Leeds, she will be working across selected Minnow projects filmed in the North.
Matthews said: “Louise has been brilliantly growing Minnow’s roots in the North. She is renowned for securing and maintaining high-level access within major institutions including the Police, NHS, MOJ and MOD. She played a vital role on the two most recent series of The Detectives, combining a natural storytelling nous with a meticulous understanding of legal and compliance issues. We’re thrilled that she will be continuing to apply that knowledge and experience in her new role as Executive Producer at Minnow.”
Malkinson said: “I am immensely proud to be taking on the role of Executive Producer within the exceptional team at Minnow and am really excited about the projects we’re embarking on together.”
Malkinson most recently Series Produced The Detectives series three (5x60mins for BBC 2 due to TX later in 2021). Her previous credits include the critically acclaimed and BAFTA-nominated The Detectives Series 2; Police Under Pressure for BBC Two; Prisoners for BBC One, Strangeways for ITV and 15 Kids and Counting for Channel 4.
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