Former Reef Television CEO, Richard Farmbrough, has joined forces with Executive Producer Owen Rodd, to create Somersault Studio, a new indie with bases in London and Cardiff.

The indie will focus on factual content for broadcasters, streamers, brands and the podcast market. The company’s first show on air will be the newly commissioned Gareth Malone’s Passion (w/t), a co-commission between BBC Wales and BBC One in which choirmaster and broadcaster Malone takes eight untrained singers to stage his own performance of Bach’s St John Passion on the 300th anniversary of its first performance.

Farmbrough launched and ran Reef Television for 15 years and exited the company after its sale to Zinc Media. While there, Reef made shows including Messiah at the Foundling Hospital (BBC), Paul Hollywood’s City Bakes (Food Network), Village of the Year (C4) and multiple long-running daytime series such as Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC) and French Collection (C4). Prior to Reef he was a producer at the BBC and Talkback Productions, and he has also been the CEO of the media technology business Must.

As a freelance Executive and Series Producer, Rodd has overseen returning series and documentaries for the past 15 years, working with all the major UK and several US broadcasters. Rodd who has a background in news journalism will be Co-Founder and Creative Director of Somersault Studio. His credits include Egyptian Tomb Hunting with Tony Robinson and The Nile – Egypt’s Great River with Bettany Hughes (both C5), Smithsonian’s Combat ShipsPenelope Keith’s Hidden Villages and Walking Through History (both C4). Owen worked as a freelance producer with Richard at Reef Television over a number of years.

Richard Farmbrough said: “It is immensely exciting to be back in the production game with the multi-talented Owen Rodd, this time with a remit to create factual content for a truly broad range of customers. The opportunities to reach audiences in this continually fragmenting market are huge, but as producers we need to be more nimble and agile than ever before – somersaulting our way through the media landscape.” 

Owen Rodd said: “Richard and I first met at Reef in 2010 –  the first of a great many stints for me there. He and I share a clear sense that the story is everything. We both love the challenge of applying that to new genres and platforms and that is where we are headed with this exciting new venture.”

The company is in advanced development on “multiple” projects including travel and history shows and a music-based podcast project. Somersault Studio also announced today that is has secured a major commission with the BBC to produce Gareth Malone’s Passion  (see below)

Paul Hanrahan is working as head of production on a consultancy basis.


Jon Creamer

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