The Garden bolsters senior team as slate expands
The Garden, co-producer of Netflix phenomenon Squid Game: The Challenge, has promoted Lucie Duxbury to Head of Programmes, Spencer Kelly to Director of Factual and brought 24 Hours in Police Custody Series Director Jermaine Blake onto its staff as an Executive Producer, in response to its expanding slate of projects. The trio will bolster the company’s senior team as Creative Director Nic Brown returns from maternity leave to take charge of the slate.
The appointments follow the news last month that Squid Game: The Challenge has been greenlit for a second season. The competition reality series – a co-production with Studio Lambert - debuted at number one on Netflix’s Top 10 English TV list in its first week and hit the Top 10 in 93 countries. Last year also saw the ITV Studios company produce new extreme survival series Alone for Channel 4, which averaged total viewing of 1.35m per episode and was the channel’s top-performing streaming show in its launch month, as well as a second season of present-tense medical box-set Emergency, which also performed strongly for the channel.
The new shows broaden and boost a slate which includes the premium access series the company has long been known for, including the critically-acclaimed 24 Hours in A&E and 24 Hours in Police Custody, along with box-sets and feature docs such as the award-winning Our Falklands War: A Frontline Story and the forthcoming BBC landmark film on the Miners’ Strike. Wilderness with Simon Reeve launched on BBC Two on Sunday night to overnights that doubled the slot average, while four-part series Dark Phone (w/t) for Channel 4 is also due to launch later this year.
Duxbury steps up from Executive Producer having worked on some of The Garden’s biggest shows, including 24 Hours in A&E, Emergency and Alone and – nearly a decade ago – on the first series of 24 Hours in Police Custody. For the last year she has been Acting Head of Programmes, covering part of Creative Director Nic Brown’s brief during Brown’s maternity leave. The new promotion will see her work in to Brown as they combine to oversee the company’s growing slate.
Kelly meanwhile has taken on a roving brief across some of The Garden’s biggest projects, with a particular emphasis on landing new formats of scale. He was instrumental in overseeing the successful move of 24 Hours in A&E to its new home in Nottingham and Manchester and is the lead Exec on Emergency.
Blake is currently Series Director on 24 Hours in Police Custody, making a succession of ground-breaking episodes and specials including December’s ‘The Predator’ and ‘A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ and helping to steer the series as part of its senior team. He also recently directed the BBC's award-winning 'Two Daughters'. The new staff role sees him step up to Executive Producer.
John Hay, CEO of The Garden, said: “We’re very lucky to have such strong talent within the company and with some really big and exciting new series coming down the track, these moves give us the firepower we need - and the individuals the recognition they deserve. It’s great to have Nic back at the helm and Lucie, Spencer and Jermaine have all played a key part in setting a gold standard and expanding our range. So with the new team in place as we work across an ever-wider range of genres, broadcasters and streamers, I’m excited to see where the current momentum can take us next.”
Lucie Duxbury said: “I’m immensely proud to be stepping into this new role at such an exciting time in The Garden’s story. I can’t think of a more creative and inspiring group of people to work alongside as we continue to break new ground.”
Spencer Kelly said: “I am honoured to be working with an extremely talented team in this new role and look forward to playing a part in what promises to be a thrilling new phase in The Garden’s growth”
Jermaine Blake said: “I’m so pleased to join The Garden as an Executive Producer and look forward to working with the most talented, dynamic team in documentaries. I'm excited to contribute to the innovation The Garden is famous for, as the company goes from strength to strength.”
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