BBC Studios Productions CEO Ralph Lee will exit the BBC’s commercial wing in April. He is leaving after six years to “pursue a new challenge outside the organisation.”
BBC Studios has initiated a search for a replacement, with Lee saying “the right time to explore other opportunities.”
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Lee joined BBC Studios as Director of Content in 2018 and was made CEO of BBC Studios Productions in 2022, when the BBC pooled its Scripted, Factual, Global Entertainment and Kids & Family divisions into one single production hub.
Former Channel 4 Deputy Chief Creative Officer Lee has overseen production on returning and continuing titles such as Strictly Come Dancing, Happy Valley 3, EastEnders, Doctor Who, Prehistoric Planet, Good Omens, The Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final, Planet Earth III, The Coronation of King Charles III, Silent Witness and Black Ops – and original podcast series such as Vishal and Believe in Magic.
He also had oversight of BBC Studios’ production labels and invested indies including House Productions, Lookout Point, Clerkenwell, Voltage TV, Sid Gentle Films and Firebird Pictures as well as BBC Studios’ international production operations in the U.S., France, India, Australia, and the Nordics.
BBC Studios Productions is the biggest supplier to the BBC networks and BBC iPlayer, and under Lee’s leadership has added Apple TV+, Amazon, Netflix, Channel 4, UKTV, Discovery and Disney+ to its client list.
Tom Fussell, CEO BBC Studios, said: “Ralph’s leadership has been a gamechanger for our production business, taking BBC Studios to creative and award-winning heights in every genre, both domestically and internationally. His calm stewardship through and out of the Covid pandemic was invaluable and he’s attracted outstanding talent like Kate Ward, Rich Knight and Cecilia Persson to our organisation, whilst overseeing global expansion and growth among our production units, labels and invested indies.
“However, it’s the deeply personal approach and investment Ralph’s brought to our programme-making culture that will best sum up his legacy here. I want to thank him enormously for his contributions and wish him the best of luck in his next adventure.”
Lee added: “It’s been an absolute privilege to lead BBC Studios Productions for six fulfilling years however, after an incredibly busy but hugely successful 2023, I started to think about what was next for me professionally.
“As hard as it is to leave such an inspiring business and colleagues who are pioneers in their respective creative and craft fields, I feel now is the right time to explore other opportunities. I’d like to thank all the fantastic production teams across BBC Studios for making this such an enriching and rewarding experience.“
Before joining the BBC, Lee, who has worked in television for 25 years, rose to Acting Chief Creative Officer at Channel 4. At the broadcaster, also held a number of commissioning roles including Head of Factual and Head of Specialist Factual, working in programs such as The Secret Life of Four Year Olds, Grayson Perry: All Man, Gogglebox, First Dates, Benefits Street, Richard III: the King in the Car Park, 24 Hours in Custody and Educating Yorkshire.
Before that, he was a producer/director of documentaries specialising in history, arts and biography, working both at the BBC and in the independent sector.
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