Matchlight hires Paul Murray as Creative Director, New Markets, following new commissions
Independent producer Matchlight has appointed Paul Murray to the newly created senior role of Creative Director, New Markets as part of a major investment in the company’s Glasgow based team by DCD Media.
Murray, previously Head of Objective Scotland, will focus on winning commissions in features, daytime and factual entertainment. He will work with Matchlight’s Creative Director, Ross Wilson and alongside the company’s Head of Development, Jacqui Hayden.
Murray, as the creator of hit shows including Location, Location, Location (Channel 4) and Antiques Road Trip (BBC Two), is one of Scotland’s leading features and factual entertainment producers. His appointment follows a joint announcement by the BBC and Channel 4 in July of this year that they intend to source more returning popular factual series from Scotland’s independent production sector.
Taking up his new role from 2nd September, Murray’s expertise and credentials will complement those of Matchlight's Ross Wilson, a BAFTA and International Emmy Award winning documentary maker, who founded the company in 2009 alongside Managing Director, David Smith, and Head of Development, Jacqui Hayden (both previously of IWC Media). Together they have worked to establish Matchlight as a respected producer of high end factual programming - Matchlight’s recent credits include Afghanistan: The Great Game (Scottish BAFTA winner 2012) for BBC Two, Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery for BBC Three and Dispatches: The Truth About Junior Doctors with Dr. Christian Jessen for Channel 4.
Paul Murray was most recently head of Objective Scotland where he oversaw the production of The Secret Removers, the Banff Award winning Fresh Meat House as well as Face the Clock and 50 Funniest Moments (all for Channel 4). Before taking up this position he was Creative Director at STV productions where he created the BBC daytime hit Antiques Road Trip that has recently moved to a new peak time slot. Prior to that Murray produced Piers Morgan's BBC series, The Dark Side of Fame and You Can't Fire me I'm Famous. He started out with Ideal World/IWC, and unleashed Kirsty and Phil onto the world - producing the original pilot and first series of Location, Location, Location.
Matchlight’s Chief Executive, Ross Wilson, said: “Paul has a really strong track record in delivering ambitious, highly creative programming across genres. He’s someone I’ve enjoyed working with in the past and I’m thrilled he’s decided to join Matchlight.”
Paul Murray, commented: “Matchlight have big, ambitious plans for the future and I'm delighted to be joining the team. Our aim is to deliver innovative and exciting shows for the UK and further afield.”
David Smith, Matchlight’s Managing Director, said: “Both the BBC and Channel 4 have asked for more returning series from Scotland, Matchlight has moved quickly to answer that demand. We aim to double our turnover in the next three years, winning more commissions in our existing areas of strength as well as developing new markets for our programmes.”
David Craven, CEO, DCD Media, added: “This is a significant move for Matchlight, a company that has built a strong reputation in factual television in just over four years. It is timely for the DCD Media group to support the producer’s expansion with targeted investment to enable Matchlight to capitalize on its solid foundations and capture a larger share of the out-of-London market as new opportunities arise.”
Alongside the announcement of Murray’s appointment Ross Wilson also confirmed that Matchlight is currently producing new series featuring both Helen Castor and Amanda Vickery for the BBC and working, for the first time, with the BBC’s Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders. Helen Castor, who previously worked with Matchlight on the acclaimed history series, She Wolves: England’s Early Queens, is writing and presenting a three part series entitled The Private Lives of Medieval Britain for BBC Four while Prof. Amanda Vickery is writing and presenting Women and Art (working title), a landmark three part series for BBC Two. Also for BBC Two Stephanie Flanders will investigate how polio was cured in a one hour documentary that films this autumn in the USA and UK. Her father Michael Flanders, of the famous 50s singing duo Flanders and Swan, was crippled by polio whilst in the navy as a young man. From its base in Glasgow Matchlight has also recently started work on its first series commission for BBC Scotland, Viva Variety (working title), a 4 x 30 commission; on a 1x60 documentary for BBC Scotland to mark the start of the year of the Commonwealth Games, The Commonwealth of Burns; and on Jockey School, a First Cut documentary for Channel 4.
All of Matchlight’s output is distributed internationally by DCD Rights.