BBC Studios Production has appointed Tom McDonald as Director of Factual.

Reporting to Director of Content, Ralph Lee, McDonald will be responsible for the overall factual strategy, leading the creative teams and driving growth across the portfolio.


He joins BBC Studios from BBC Content, where he has been Head of Natural History and Specialist Factual Commissioning since 2016. He is currently responsible for all Natural History, Science, History and Religion & Ethics programming across BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4 and iPlayer.


His commissioning credits include global landmark series, single films, live events and formats from Blue Planet II, The Planets, Drowning in Plastic, A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad, Thatcher: A Very British Revolution, The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, Chris Packham: Asperger’s and Me, to feature docs Untouchable: The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein and Peter Jackson’s WWI film They Shall Not Grow Old and factual dramas 8 Days: To the Moon and Back and the forthcoming The Windermere Children. He has also commissioned a raft of successful returners including Inside The Factory, Amazing Hotels, Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Surgeons: At the Edge of Life, The Truth About… strand and A House Through Time.


McDonald joined the BBC as a commissioning editor in Documentaries, Science and Natural History in 2012 and before then he worked in the independent sector as an executive producer on some of the UK’s biggest factual titles including 24 Hours in A&E and Who Do You Think You Are?


Ralph Lee, Director of Content, BBC Studios said: “Tom is a passionate and exceptional programme maker, who’s overseen some of the most successful factual content of recent times. BBC Studios is renowned for the quality and range of its factual programmes and I’m delighted he will be bringing his immense strategic and creative talent to this important growth area for BBC Studios.”


Tom McDonald said: “I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with some of the very best directors, producers and indies – as well as amazing colleagues – over the last 7 years. During my time in commissioning, the broadcasting landscape has changed at an extraordinary pace. So now feels like the perfect moment to take on a new challenge, building on BBC Studios Production’s global reputation and helping to shape their factual output for the years to come. “


McDonald will remain in BBC content until the end of the year and will take up his new role in early 2020.

Staff Reporter

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