Workerbee, part of Banijay UK, has made new senior hires and restructured the business.

Ben Mitchell (pictured) joins the Manchester based company as creative director from BBC Studios where he is creative director of Popular Factual.

Michelle Chappell is promoted to managing director, overseeing the business, while Rick Murray becomes ceo charged with further growing the business both domestically and internationally.

Holly Davies joins Workerbee as head of Development, Formats and will work closely with Ben Mitchell to grow the Formats side of the business.

She has held a variety of senior development roles previously, at a range of companies like Viacom Studios, Spun Gold as well as Boundless and Naked.

The company is to be restructured under two clear business divisions – Films and Formats.

Films will focus on premium factual for the SVOD space, led by Workerbee director Benjamin Hirsch who has helmed many of the company’s recent titles including Janet Jackson (Sky, Lifetime and A+E) and Bruno Vs Tyson (Sky) and is currently working on an as yet announced feature film for a major Svod.

Building on this success, the films division will seek to partner with high profile directors and film makers to make premium documentary content for global audiences.

Formats will focus on factual entertainment and features with recent shows including The Bridge (Channel 4) and Idris Elba’s Fight School (BBC Two). Holly Davies joins as Head of Development, Formats and will work closely with Ben Mitchell in growing this slate.

Prior to BBC Studios, Mitchell was director of Programmes at Boundless, where he was responsible for shows including Grierson nominated, 60 Days on the Streets (C4), Love in the Countryside (BBC2) and Grand Designs (C4). Before that, he was head of Popular Factual at Shine, another Banijay UK company, where his credits included BAFTA and RTS award winning, The Island & Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (C4). He has also produced and directed other hit fact ent formats, including The Hotel, Undercover Boss, Shipwrecked and Ladette to Lady.

Rick Murray, Workerbee ceo said; “Creating these two divisions within the company gives us focus and purpose as we continue to build the team. I’m thrilled Ben is joining us to take our factual entertainment slate to new levels and thanks to the recent success of Benjamin Hirsch’s work, we are growing a team of talented and brilliant documentary makers in Manchester. These are exciting times, and with Michelle as MD of the core business, we are well positioned for a new era of growth. We’ve come a long way from the early days of two desks and a photocopier.”

Michelle Chappell, managing director of Workerbee added: “After four years at Workerbee, I am delighted to be leading the teams with Rick, as we continue with our ambitious plans for the business. We are passionate about working with the best producers and directors in the business and this new structure reflects our pursuit of quality in our programmes.”

Mitchell joins the business in the New Year and  joins later in the month.




Pippa Considine

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