People/Biz

Sharp Jack Media founders board BBC Studios to create formats

Amanda Wilson and Elliot Johnson – founders of Sharp Jack Media and individually, producers behind such formats as The Chase and Strictly Come Dancing – are joining BBC Studios to lead creative development ...
February 17, 2021

Amanda Wilson and Elliot Johnson – founders of Sharp Jack Media and individually, producers behind such formats as The Chase and Strictly Come Dancing – are joining BBC Studios to lead creative development across its entertainment and music department.

The unit, led by managing director Suzy Lamb, produces content including Strictly Come Dancing, Comic Relief, Glastonbury and A Question of Sport.

Reporting to Lamb, Wilson (pictured left) and Johnson (right) — whose other credits include The Waiting Game, Who Dares Sings and  RTÉ Ireland’s Raised by the Village — will be charged with devising and advancing original format ideas through to commission for a variety of broadcasters and platforms in the UK and globally, including the BBC.

Wilson and Johnson will provide editorial direction and strategic business leadership for the development team, working alongside three other creative directors (Mel Balac, Pete Ogden and James Payne) for content production.

They are also tasked with helping BBC Studios Production transform its program offering and accelerate diversity and inclusion.

The pair set up Sharp Jack Media in 2011 and developed a range of shows for the UK and Ireland including Four Heads, Scorchio, Queer as Pop and dating show Always the Bridesmaid for TLC UK.

They joined what was then Endemol Shine UK in 2017 as joint MDs of Sharp Jack TV, taking their existing IP and developments to build the label within the media company’s production group across entertainment and factual entertainment.

At Banijay — which acquired Endemol Shine last year — they created and executive produced a number of titles including E4 gameshow Darling What Have You Done To Your Hair, Tough Old Landlords for NPO Netherlands and a new games show for CBBC.

Prior to Sharp Jack, Wilson led the BBC team that developed and formatted Strictly Come Dancing. She also devised The Waiting Game for Hat Trick Productions.

Johnson, meanwhile, began his TV career at BBC music entertainment working on Top of The Pops, Glastonbury and Bowie at the Beeb.

He then joined Fremantle Media developing ideas for Thames and Syco, creating and producing The Jack Osbourne Show for Channel 4 as well as contributing to the development of The X-Factor.

Lamb said in a statement:  “Amanda and Elliot are a creative powerhouse. Their fingerprints can be found on some of TVs most popular contemporary formats so the prospect of them creating in the BBC Studios Entertainment and Music space is thrilling. Developing new content that’s popular and representative for all audiences is vital and I can’t wait to see what they dream up for us.”

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 HMV.com. 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.

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