Woodcut Media, a member of the family of Bob & Co businesses, was named one of the fastest growing TV production companies in the UK by Broadcast in 2016. Building on that momentum, last year saw Woodcut Media make its debut in the Televisual Production 100 and as a Real Screen 100 Production Company.
In addition to being one of the leading true crime producers in the UK (Jo Frost on Britain’s Killer Kids, The Krays: The Prison Years and World’s Most Evil Killers), Woodcut Media’s rapidly growing catalogue also includes specialist factual series (Wings of War, Combat Ships, Football: A Brief History By Alfie Allen), premium docs (The Ivy, Cut From A Different Cloth and Mandela, My Dad and Me featuring Idris Elba) and factual entertainment series (Around the World in 80 Tricks, How Hacks Work and Animal Antics).
Woodcut Media’s growth has been driven by investment from Bob & Co, a media investment firm run by former Agatha Christie Productions CEO, Hilary Strong. Specializing in non-scripted programming, Woodcut is led by Kate Beal (CEO), Creative Director, Derren Lawford and Chairman Jeremy Mills, formerly founder of Lion TV founder.’
Kate Beal, Chief Executive Officer
After a decade at ITV where she rose to Series Producer at the age of 25, Kate founded KMB Productions Ltd at 27 and within three years a major independent, Talent Group PLC, approached Kate to buy her company, which became Talent TV South. There Kate went from strength to strength, producing hit shows for broadcasters such as ITV, A+E Networks UK, UKTV and TLC’s break out factual hit, Tina Malone: Pregnant at 50.
In 2014 Talent South transformed into Woodcut Media and since then has become one of the fasted growing indies in the UK, making the Realscreen Global 100 in early 2017. Under Kate’s leadership, Woodcut has become one of the leading crime producers in the UK, from The Krays: The Prison Years, Discovery ID’s first ever series commission, Murdered in the Line of Duty to Sky Pick’s recent 20-part ratings smash, Britain’s Most Evil Killers and Jo Frost on Killer Kids a four-part special for Crime & Investigation. She’s also been the driving force behind the company’s global specialist factual franchise Combat Trains and Combat Ships and the company’s foray into premium factual with high end access documentary The Ivy.
In addition to running Woodcut and executive producing, Kate has also just had her first book published by Penguin Random House.
Matt Blyth, Co-Founder and Technical Director
As Technical Director Matt overseas the company’s in-house multi-award winning post-production team of editors and VFX specialists. He’s also Woodcut’s senior editor with two RTS awards of his own to his name to date for Best Post Production and Best Graphics. Matt’s recent editing credits include the Idris Elba documentary, Cut From A Different Cloth, They Ivy and Football: A Brief History by Alfie Allen. A talented director too, Matt edited and directed Discovery’s hit crime special The Krays: The Prison Years and is series director for Jo Frost on Killer Kids, a four-part special for Crime & Investigation.
Jeremy Mills, Chairman
In a distinguished career at the BBC, Jeremy produced and directed programmes spanning an incredibly eclectic range of genres including news, documentaries, music shows, studio quizzes and dramas. As a series producer and executive producer, he ran many high profile one-offs and series on BBC1 including the Vet, The Doctor, Island Race and Airport, the first ‘docu-soap’. In 1997 he left the BBC to found Lion Television which went on to produce a string of hit and award winning shows for UK and international broadcasters including Castaway, Paddington Green, Homes Under The Hammer, Playing It Straight and Horrible Histories. After selling Lion Television to All3Media and 18 years at the helm, in 2015 Jeremy decided to explore new creative challenges. He is currently Chairman of Woodcut Media and an advisor to Bob & Co, a media investment and advisory firm.
Derren Lawford, Creative Director
Derren is responsible for development and strategy, securing commissions as well as working with Kate to drive co-production and programme finance opportunities for the company’s non-scripted and scripted slate. Since joining in 2014 Derren has also played a pivotal role as Executive Producer working alongside film and TV talent on shows such as Football: A Brief History by Alfie Allen and the Idris Elba documentaries Cut From A Different Cloth and Mandela, My Dad and Me. Other key productions include the 4K factual entertainment series Around The World In 80 Tricks and the BFI supported feature documentary, Generation Revolution.
Before joining Woodcut, Derren was a commissioner at London Live, Head of Content for youth media agency Livity and Editorial Advisor to multi-millionaire You Tuber Jamal Edwards. Prior to that Derren had a long-standing career in various roles at the BBC including among others Global iPlayer’s Head of Programming and Scheduling, Panorama’s first Multiplatform Editor and Multiplatform Executive Producer for the award-winning BBC Three series Our War.
Derren is also a Board Director for Sheffield Doc/Fest, a Trustee for One World Media and a Mentor for Documentary Campus
Jenni Day, Head of Production
Series Producer and Head of Production, Jenni works across all of the Woodcut slate. Her recent series include the highly successful Defenders of the Sky, Fred Dinenage: Murder Casebook and Combat Trains. Previously Jenni worked at ITV across news and factual programming.
Jinal Patel, Executive Producer
Since joining Woodcut as an Executive Producer, Jinal has overseen multiple crime and specialist factual series, such as executive producing World’s Most Evil Killers for Sky Pick and Holloway: Women Behind Bars for CI. Jinal has also series produced Murdered in the Line of Duty for Discovery ID, and was edit producer on both The Ivy for ITV and Around the World in 80 Tricks for Insight.
Jinal joined Woodcut Media from A+E Networks UK, where she was Senior Commissioning and Acquisitions Editor. Her activities focused on The Crime & Investigation Network and Lifetime in the UK and across EMEA. During this period she was responsible for acquiring some of the most successful non-scripted series for Lifetime including The Real Housewives Franchise. She executive produced two of the most successful series for Crime & Investigation Network with Britain’s Darkest Taboos and Crimes that Shook Britain. Jinal also commissioned and executive produced formats across the US and Australia, including the RTS award-winning programme I Survived 9/11.
Adam Jacobs, Executive Producer
Adam joined Woodcut Media as an Executive Producer in 2017, developing and executive producing specialist factual series such as 10-parter Wings of War for Quest. Before Woodcut Media, Adam was at Discovery where he was Executive Producer and Director of Programming. His role involved commissioning, sourcing and acquiring content for the factual portfolio of channels across multiple international territories in addition to managing the US slate of programming. Over the course of a decade, he was responsible for executive producing talent driven shows including The Somme: The First 24 Hours with Tony Robinson, Churchill & Me with Hugh Dennis and British Treasure American Gold with Jesse McClure. He also acquired some of Discovery Europe’s most successful and recognisable franchises such as Top Gear, Ross Kemp On Gangs, Dynamo Magician Impossible and Auction Hunters. Prior to Discovery, Adam worked for Crown Entertainment’s Hallmark Channel where he was Acquisitions Assistant sourcing both scripted and non-scripted content for the network across its international feeds.
Matthew Gordon, Executive Producer
Matthew Gordon joined Woodcut this year to the newly created position of Executive Producer, Popular Factual developing and executive producing a broad range of factual output. Prior to joining Woodcut, Matthew spent three years at Avalon Factual Television as Head of Features & Daytime developing, pitching and producing formats and series to UK/US Broadcasters. Prior to that he spent a further 6 years working as an Executive Producer across Avalon’s production companies Flame Television and Liberty Bell on a multitude of series such as Heir Hunters (BBC1 & BBC2), The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door (Channel 5) and A Town & Country Murder (CI). With an illustrious career spanning more than 20 years, Matthew has worked across factual, features and documentary programming; from science and history through to drama-docs and consumer journalism. Other credits include Comic Relief does Car Booty (BBC1), Four in a Bed (Channel 4), Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away and Murdered by my Fiancé (Channel 5).