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SuperSizer 20/21: Meet the Delegates!

A collage of the sixteen SuperSizer delegates.

After a record-breaking number of applications from all four nations, we're excited to announce the sixteen successful delegates for our professional development programme SuperSizer!


Alex Thomas Milk First

Alex Thomas | Milk First

Alex Thomas is an award-winning producer/director with a forte for character-driven and immersive documentaries. He co-founded Milk First with the objective of amplifying the many voices of Britain which resulted in the recent partnership with Channel 4 as part of their new ground-breaking indie accelerator program.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

To gain a fuller understanding of UK broadcasters needs and develop relationships with commissioners in an intimate environment.   

Andy Ashworth Cut Media

Andy Ashworth | Cut Media

Andy is the Lead Creative at Cut Media - a content studio based in Glasgow. He graduated 3 years ago from the Film and TV course at Edinburgh College of Art, and since then he’s been working as the Lead Creative at Cut Media on a range of projects for global brands - from integrated advertising and digital campaigns through to narrative documentary work. This work has often been focussed within the outdoor sports space working with world class talent like Danny MacAskill and Lewis Hamilton.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I'm really looking forward to developing my knowledge and experience of the broadcast world as Cut Media begins to move more into that space. I'm excited to hear from experienced talent in the industry to learn from and be inspired by them.

Chamoun Issa Factual Fiction

Chamoun Issa | Factual Fiction

After graduating from the National Film and Television School, Chamoun worked as a freelance screenwriter and director. This lef to his first assignment in development. When ITV greenlit the project, a biography about Torvill and Dean, he was offered a chance to be an in-house development producer and discovered he loved the role.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I’m looking forward to acquiring knowledge and tools that will help me succeed as a Development Executive and help our company grow in these difficult times: insights about broadcasters, access to commissioners, industry intelligence, a raised profile and an expanded network.

Clare Burgoyne Below the Radar

Claire Burgoyne | Below the Radar

Claire Burgoyne is an experienced producer with a long track record in developing and manging projects. She is currently Head of Development with Below the Radar, one of Northern Ireland’s leading film, television and digital production houses. Recent commission include an arts documentary on the Irish writer Colm Tóibín for RTÉ, a multi-part specialist factual series co-pro Rain Stories for TG4, BBC Northern Ireland and other broadcasters and Saving the Shipyard, an obs doc for BBC Northern Ireland. In summer 2020, a feature documentary Claire developed, The Sheriff premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I am relishing the opportunity to learn some new skills, particularly techniques for developing new ideas, managing teams more effectively and becoming pitch perfect – in person and on Zoom. The interactive aspect of the training is particularly appealing, as is the chance to share experiences with other Development Producers.

Dave Donald 14th Floor Productions

Dave Donald | 14th Floor Productions

Dave Donald is a producer and development executive with a strong track record in entertainment and factual entertainment genres. He has Edit Produced shows such as Location Location Location (C4), Secret Scotland (C5), Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (C4) and A Country Life for Half the Price (C5).  He was also a Producer on the reality TV format I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse (BBC Three) and Killer Magic (BBC Three).

Last year he was a co-producer of the children’s gameshow Last Commanders, which subsequently won a BAFTA Scotland award in the Best Entertainment Programme category.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer? 

I am looking forward to gaining a better understanding of how programmes are developed, pitched and commissioned.  I want to know the latest trends and audience insights so I can pitch the best programme ideas possible.  I hope to gain valuable knowledge from commissioners on what they’re after and find out how the most successful shows were developed.

David Leach

David Leach | Freelance

David has been a TV Freelancer in the nations and regions for almost 15 years; in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff. For the last 18 months he has been Head of Development at Boom Productions in Cardiff. Much of his development career has been spent at Icon Films, BBC Unscripted, Drummer TV, BBC Arts, Plimsoll, KEO Films, Lime Pictures and BBC Features & Daytime. Meanwhile his production CV is packed with famous (and infamous) formats including: Embarrassing Bodies, Panorama, Snog Marry Avoid, Countryfile, Geordie Shore, Back in time for… and Crimewatch Roadshow. David prides himself on his keen eye for casting, his shooting skills, his can-do creativity and coming up with killer titles (and terrible puns). Outside of TV he is a singer-songwriter, stand-up comedian and serial scarf knitter.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

Like many in our industry I‘ve learnt on the job, from mentors, role models and managers. SuperSizer offers me a chance to learn new skills, explore different approaches to development and genuinely hone my craft. I can’t wait to spark new creative connections with my development peers across the UK.

Gail Tolley

Gail Tolley | Freelance

After ten years as a magazine journalist, Gail recently made the leap into TV development. She was previously Editor of Time Out London so she has heaps of experience discovering amazing stories and thinking creatively about how to tell them. Gail also has a strong portfolio of writing and broadcast appearances, she has contributed to National Georgraphic Traveller, The Independent, BBC Radio 4 and Radio Scotland. Gail is now based in Edinburgh excited about taking her journalistic skills into TV development. Most recently she has been working with Glasgow’s Finestripe Productions developing factual entertainment formats and current affairs docs.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

Discovering the innermost working of commisioners’ minds! Or at the very least meeting other people in the industry who are inspired by brilliant ideas.

Heather Brown Yeti Television

Heather Brown | Yeti Television

Heather Brown is a Development Executive. She specialises in factual and factual entertainment formats, her big wins include Gino D’Acampo’s Italian Escape (ITV), Alison Steadman;s Little British Isles (C4), Super Scary Plane Landings (C5), The Genealogy Roadshow (RTE/PBS), Don’t Look Down (ITV) and Dance Mums (Lifetime). Heather is currently a Development Executive at Yeti. She has a 10 year track record working in format development and has worked in development teams at Stellify Media, Remedy, Renegade, NBC Peacock Productions, ITV Studios, Potato and Big Mountain Productions.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I am absolutely delighted to be accepted onto this programme. I really want to connect with other creatives in the industry not only to gain knowledge from them but also to offer my own insight and experience. I hope this SuperSizer will help me to gain more confidence in myself especially because I have imposter syndrome! The programme will also supercharge my development skills especially when it comes to networking and pitching to commissioners.  

Holly Cocker Hey Sonny Films

Holly Cocker | Hey Sonny Films

Multi award winning documentary filmmaker with a passion for children’s TV and social issues, Holly has also won awards for Radio documentaries, been nominated for a children’s BAFTA and is currently a Director at Hey Sonny in Sheffield where she heads up the Development Team as well as shooting and PD-ing on projects, When not working you can find Holly with her wife and two daughters, exploring the Peak District, cooking Indian food and binge watching BBC Dramas. Not all at once…

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I’m most looking forward to meeting new like minded people and connecting to commissioners I haven’t had the pleasure of meetings yet. I hope to learn lots and improve my skills with the aim of securing a returning series one day!

James Gray BBC Studios

James Gray | BBC Studios

I’m a Development Exec for BBC Studios based in Glasgow. Having spent a decade as a Producer/Director, making factual films for a range of UK and international broadcasters, I decided to return to development, which is where I began my career. During the time I’ve spent in development I’ve been involved in winning some brilliant series and singles; including a returning BBC4 series, a ground-breaking popular science channel for YouTube and most recently BBC Studio’s first commission with a Chinese broadcaster.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I’m really excited to have an opportunity to gain insights and learn new strategies from the industry’s leading figures – that’s something pretty unique. I also think it will be really fascinating to hear from those who work in a whole range of different genres of TV – I believe that cross-pollination of subjects and approaches can lead to brilliant and unexpected ideas.

Jessica Waite The Garden Yorkshire

Jessica Waite | The Garden Yorkshire

Jessica began her career as a journalist; her first job in TV came about when she pitched a story to Channel 4 News which sparked global news coverage. She went on to work in news and current affairs, before moving into development four years ago. In that time, she’s had several original commissions, including Women at War: 100 Years of Service (BBC One), Sex on the Couch (BBC Three) and a soon-to-be-announced fact-ent format. She joined The Garden’s Yorkshire office last year to lead on developing new popular factual programmes.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?    

I’m really looking forward to having creative conversations with commissioners – opportunities like this can be rare in the regions. And I’m excited to learn from the other delegates on the course too – having so many amazing brains in one room who can offer feedback and share their own experiences will be brilliant. 

Jordan Laird Studio Something

Jordan Laird | Studio Something

Jordan Laird is a writer and director from Edinburgh. He founded Studio Something, a creative studio, in 2015 with Ian Greenhill. He has directed numerous music videos, ads, documentaries and factual TV shows and worked for Red Bull, Island Records, BBC, Channel 4 and Sony Music. In the past 18 months has directed 35 episodes of BBC cult football show ‘A View From The Terrace’. He is beginning the third season of ‘A View From The Terrace’ as Series Director, is executive producer on ‘Scary Adult Things’ and is preparing to take Studio Something’s first feature film to market.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?    

My ambition is to broaden our commissioning horizons beyond Scotland. To take the company to the next level we need to be able to meet a more diverse range of commissioners. I have, to date, learned on the job and I believe this course would give me the opportunity to gain a level of formal training from respected and experienced people within it. Understanding the industry standards on how to pitch, package and present our ideas.

Julie Beanland True North

Julie Beanland | True North

I began my career as a journalist, working on newspapers, local radio and then later local television. I later moved into documentary production first at ITV and then later on True North where I worked my way up the ladder from Producer, Series Producer to Executive Producer. I have made a variety of different series with True North for all the major channels and currently I look after the bumper series (and spin off series)  “A New Life in the Sun” for Channel. The series is one I developed and series produced before becoming the Exec. We are currently making series 6. 

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I am looking forward to meeting other people from different companies to share experiences at working out of London.  I am also really keen to learn how to turn great ideas into even better TV!

Kate Vines

Kate Vines | Freelance

Kate is an established Development Executive, having secured business for some of the UK’s most successful production companies, including Two Four, Wall to Wall, The Garden and BBC Studios. Having worked across a range of genres including docs, comedy and fact ent, she finally found her spiritual home in specialist factual. From landmark series ‘Wonders of Life’ with Professor Brian Cox, to ‘Electric Dreams’ a living history series for BBC Two, she loves working with talent and has won a range of commissions to this end, including ‘The Truth About HIV’ with Dr Chris Van Tulleken,  The Truth About Alcohol with Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, ‘Race Riots USA’ with Reggie Yates, and ‘Victoria and Albert; The Wedding’ with Lucy Worsley.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I am genuinely excited about kickstarting my career after the Covid hiatus! I’m also really keen on meeting fellow producers from the regions, to share ideas and experiences, as well as build a new network together. And I hope to learn some new skills along the way.

Laura Gilbert Firecrest Films

Laura Gilbert | Firecrest Films

I have been working in TV for 12 years, I packed up my life and made the move to the big smoke to work for 10 years, before coming back to Glasgow just under two years ago. I have worked on some amazing shows from starting my career as a runner working on the remake of Gladiators, to moving across to working on high profile and sensitive observational documentaries such as 24Hrs in A&E, 24Hrs in Police Custody and The MET: Policing London. With all the tv I work on both in productions and development for me the main heart of it all is people and telling incredible stories. I am passionate about making shows with a social purpose. Now living back in Glasgow and working in development, I am excited and encouraged at developing new ideas and new talent. When not working in tv I am also juggling life as a mum with two young kids (aged 2 and 3), so life is always busy and exciting.                           

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I am most looking forward to meeting the other delegates and commissioners. There is nothing more motivating and inspiring that talking to other creative people. I can’t wait to talk to commissioners and gain a better understanding of exactly what they are looking for, whilst hopefully building great relationships for the future.

Ruairi Sparks Rare Television

Ruairi Sparks | Rare Television

Ruairi started working in TV in 2016 after a short stint in adland. He got his first gig working with Samantha Anstiss and her team at “Auntie” – an in house indie at the BBC. While at Auntie he worked on developing shows in house and landed his first commission – Brainwashing Stacey. Since then he has worked as a researcher, AP and Producer on shows such as Secret Life of 4&5 year olds, First Dates and Special Forces Hell Week both at the BBC and for RTE. Last year Ruairi left the bright lights of London to move back to Ireland and secured a job as Development Producer for Rare TV in Ireland. Since joining Rare he has successes with commissions for BBC3 and UKTV as well as funded developments for other broadcasters in the UK and Ireland. He maintains that he’s just trying to be successful enough to give his as yet unacquired dog the backyard she deserves.

What are you most looking forward to with SuperSizer?

I’m really looking forward to meeting the rest of this year’s cohort and discussing how we can better improve relationships with commissioners as well as the quality of ideas and taster tapes coming from the nations and regions.

About the author

Rachelle Gallagher

Rachelle Gallagher

Marketing Executive at TRC