RSL ’14: BBCWW’s Swanston sets goals for Brit, Earth

BBC Worldwide's VP of commissioning Julie Swanston (pictured) outlined her programming goals for genre brands BBC Brit and BBC Earth at Realscreen London on Wednesday (October 9).
October 9, 2014

BBC Worldwide’s VP of commissioning Julie Swanston (pictured) outlined her programming goals for genre brands BBC Brit and BBC Earth at Realscreen London on Wednesday (October 9).

Speaking on BBC Brit, Swanston – who programs a minimum of 83 hours of content across the two brands – said she is looking for four original, male-skewing fact ent series that are fresh interpretations of classic male genres and accessible to a broad audience.

The series must also adhere to the four thematic pillars for the brand, which are camaraderie, expertise, wit and jeopardy.

“The BBC Brit audience has a deep appreciation of British humor and the quirks of our culture,” said Swanston. “These are intelligent blokes who enjoy having a laugh and we’re looking to meet their desire for entertaining content that is underpinned by substance and feels uniquely British.”

Shifting her focus to BBC Earth, the exec explained that she is looking for original content for a new ‘Earth Unplugged’ slot which she described as “natural history with its hair down.” Swanston said she was keen to commission a fast-paced adventure series with British talent.

“We are looking for series which have a clear mission and sense of purpose for BBC Earth. The ‘Earth Unplugged’ slot will be exhilarating, lean-forward television,” said Swanston. “Expertise is critical but it must be matched by entertainment: they are of equal importance in the content we are seeking for BBC Earth.”

The exec said she’s looking for “authentic, real life adventurers who are immersed in the experience, rather than at the end of a long lens.”

BBC Earth and BBC Brit are set to launch as international channels next year, rolling out globally throughout 2015. Swanston is looking for international rights to new commissions for both brands, and describes the ideal production model as a copro with a UK or U.S. broadcaster.


About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.