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BBC Natural History Unit head Julian Hector stepping down

Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit (NHU), is stepping down from the post at the end of the year after close to five years in the position, ...
April 1, 2021

Julian Hector, head of BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit (NHU), is stepping down from the post at the end of the year after close to five years in the position, and a tenure at the British public broadcaster that has spanned close to three decades.

Having taken over the post from Wendy Darke (CEO and founder of her own natural history prodco, True To Nature) in 2016, Hector (pictured) has led the Bristol-based NHU through what has been the most successful period in its 64-year history, with such blockbuster blue-chip projects as Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasties and Seven Worlds, One Planet produced and airing under his oversight.

Under his leadership, the NHU also scored commissions with myriad broadcasters and platforms, such as The Green Planet and Frozen Planet II, both for the BBC, and with new buyers including Apple’s upcoming The Year The Earth Changed, National Geographic’s Ocean Xplorers, Endangered for Discovery, and The Americas for NBCU.

Hector began his natural history career with the BBC in 1993, producing such series as Battle Of The Sexes and Wild Africa and on radio, Slaves To Nature. On becoming editor of Natural History Radio for the pubcaster he led the development and production of award-winning programs such as Tweet Of The Day, World On The Move, Saving Species, Shared Planet, Natural Histories and Migration Live. He went on to become an executive producer in television, producing Ivory Wars with ‘Panorama’ and Tigers About the House among other projects.

According to the BBC, Hector will “pursue other interests connected to wildlife and championing the natural world” after he exits from the NHU. The search for his successor begins immediately.

“I have nothing but admiration for Julian — he’s been an exceptional colleague,” said Tom McDonald, managing director of factual for BBC Studios, in a statement. “During his tenure, he has put the natural world and the NHU’s people at the center of his thinking so his departure at the end of the year will be bittersweet. He has transformed the NHU, growing the business and transforming its culture. His legacy will be felt for many years to come — in our output, in the opening of NHU LA and in innumerable other ways.”

“It’s a wrench to leave the helm of the Natural History Unit after five wonderful years,” added Hector. “I feel honored to have led the world’s best wildlife filmmaking team in creating such hugely influential work.”

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