UKTV’s CEO, Marcus Arthur, is handing expanded remits to senior executives Steve North and Richard Watsham, increasing their responsibilities for channels and content across UKTV and BBC Studios.

North as Chief Programming Officer, UKTV and Global Director of Content Compliance, BBC Studios/UKTV, and Watsham as Chief Creative Officer, UKTV and Global Director of Acquisitions, BBC Studios/UKTV, will work in tandem, overseeing the editorial direction of the UKTV network and the content strategy across all of UKTV’s channel brands. They will also lead the BBC Studios / UKTV’s global compliance and acquisitions teams respectively.

Steve North, who currently oversees Dave, Gold, W and Yesterday as Genre General Manager for UKTV’s Comedy & Entertainment channels, will take on responsibility for UKTV’s full portfolio of channel brands, managing the editorial direction and programming for each.  He will also continue to manage the combined BBC Studios and UKTV global compliance team.

UKTV’s Director of Commissioning, Richard Watsham, has overseen UKTV’s award-winning commissioning team for nine years. Under the restructure Watsham will oversee the content pipeline servicing UKTV’s brands and, alongside his UKTV commissioning remit, he will assume responsibility for BBC Studios’ and UKTV’s global acquisitions team, overseeing all content acquisition activity across BBC Studios’ Branded Services and UKTV’s portfolio of channels.

Marcus Arthur said, “Steve and Richard are already invaluable members of UKTV’s Executive Leadership Team, and I’m delighted they are taking on these additional responsibilities. They both have incredible creative vision, alongside being highly strategic and business-minded, and in these new roles they will work closely together to help drive UKTV and BBC Studios towards further success.”

Steve North said, “I am incredibly excited to be taking on this new role. We have an excellent editorial team at UKTV and I’m looking forward to bringing everyone together to ensure we continue to lead the way with our editorial strategy and creativity. Our combined compliance team is full of highly experienced and talented people, and I will continue do all I can to support them and maintain their position as an international leader in compliance decision making.” 

Richard Watsham added, “Uniting the proven and award-winning experience that already exists in both UKTV’s commissioning team and the UKTV/BBC Studios global acquisitions team is a huge opportunity. I’m passionate about increasing the quality of our content and strengthening our partnerships to ensure that we continue to serve our growing share of the commercial market, but also recruit new viewers to our linear and VOD platforms globally. For UKTV, taking a holistic approach to content and playing at all points of the acquisition/origination spectrum will be vital to our continued success. I can’t wait to get started.”

The news follows the decision by long-serving executive Adrian Wills to step down from his role as General Manager of Global Acquisitions for BBC Studios, and Drama & Lifestyle for UKTV.  Wills has been at UKTV for over 25 years and is credited with overseeing the successful launch of Drama in 2013. In addition to Drama, Wills also launched the channels that became Alibi and Yesterday, as well as Eden, and he has led UKTV’s acquisitions department since 2017, becoming General Manager of Global Acquisitions for BBC Studios and UKTV in 2020.

North and Watsham assume their new responsibilities from the beginning of November.

Jon Creamer

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