Dr Wendy Darke
Founder and CEO True to Nature Ltd (and former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit)
Over a 25-year BBC Natural History Unit career, Wendy has been responsible for around 1,000 programmes spanning both specialist factual and children’s genres. Throughout her recent 4-year tenure as Head of the BBC NHU, she was responsible for editorial governance for all output and the delivery of around 600 hours of ground-breaking natural history content. Highlights including BBC One landmarks Life Story (2014), and RTS award winner Africa (2013). Global live event and BAFTA winning Big Blue Live (2016), and double BAFTA winning Deadly 60, which went on to become a global brand. Wendy was credited with broadening the range and diversity of NHU output, including the launch of the International Webby award winning Earth online in 2014. Prior to her departure from the BBC she secured a strong pipeline of future commissions for the NHU, including 4 new landmark series - Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasty and Seven Worlds.
Wendy gained a joint honours degree in Geology and Zoology from the University of Bristol in 1986, a PhD in Marine Sciences at the James Cooke University of North Queensland, Australia, in 1991, and was awarded the honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from the University of Bristol and Doctor of Arts from the University of the West of England, Bristol, both in July 2015. Wendy was awarded the Royal Geographic Society Cherry Kearton Medal and Award for Cinematography of the Natural World in June 2016.
Head of Production
Over the last 16 years Helena has built up a wealth of industry experience as a Production Manager across a diverse range of genres, including specialist factual, features, natural history, documentary, live events, children’s and digital output.
Working primarily for the BBC over this period, she has managed the highly successful natural history strand The Natural World, and was instrumental in developing CBBC's award winning Deadly brand, including Deadly 60, Live 'n' Deadly and Deadly Mission Madagascar, which together form part of one of the highest-selling global television brands.
She has a reputation for forging strong and trusted relationships with talent and co-producers. She has also been key to the delivery of some of the BBC’s biggest and most ambitious live outside broadcasts, including RHS Chelsea Flower Show and most recently the BAFTA award-winning series Big Blue Live.
Head of Development
Over the last 12 years, Jess has produced and developed for all the UK’s major broadcasters, working both in-house for the BBC and with leading Indies. Most recently, she led Daytime Development for BBC Bristol and Series Produced BBC's Coast and Big Blue UK. Other credits include Great British Menu (BBC2), Jamie's Fish Fight (CH4); Saving Jamie’s Bacon, The F Word (CH4) and Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance (CH4).
For the last 2 years, Alex has been living and working in Toronto on a variety of North American projects. Most recently Alex co-produced an environmental documentary about mosquitoes for the Discovery Channel’s Impact strand.
For most of his career, Alex worked at the BBC’s Science Unit in London on a range of landmark documentary series. He acted as an additional director on Brian Cox’s latest BBC1 series, Forces of Nature and BBC2’s The Secret Life of Cats. Prior to that he worked on BBC 2’s science strand, Horizon.
In 2014, Alex was awarded Broadcast Magazine’s ‘Young Technical Producer of the Year’ for his work on the BAFTA-nominated David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies.
Peter started his career in London for the Channel 4 series Inside Nature’s Giants. Since then he’s continued to get his hands dirty in specialist factual TV for a wide range of broadcasters in the UK and USA. He’s worked on Live, As-Live and straight form documentaries. Most recently directing two episodes of the BBC’s Natural World strand and working on National Geographic’s Earth Live special.
Bringing a wealth of experience in both natural history and entertainment programming, Laura has spent the vast majority of her 15-year television career at the BBC's Natural History unit. She has gained a reputation for her work across children’s output, having worked on the award-winning Deadly 60 series as well as Live ‘n’ Deadly and Deadly Mission Madagascar, and was fundamental in the creation of the live series WILD for CBBC.
Laura has also worked for many Bristol-based independent production companies over the years, and between them and the BBC, she has delivered successful content for BBC One, Two, Three and Four, CBeebies and CBBC as well as Channel 5, SKY, Animal Planet and National Geographic.
She is happy to turn her hand to most genres, including ambitious live outside broadcasts.
Annie worked in the BBC Natural History Unit from 2014 as a Production Management Assistant and was a key member of the NHU Development team and production teams, including The Great American Thaw and BAFTA award-winning Big Blue Live.
Prior to working for the BBC, Annie was the office manager for Jo Sarsby Personal Management and worked with key talent both across the UK and internationally.
Annie graduated from university with a degree in Media and Entertainment Technology and has travelled extensively outside the UK.
Radhika has spent all of her professional life working in media finance for independent production companies. After graduating from university in 2002, she started as an accounts assistant at Lion TV, before going to Optomen Television as an in-house production accountant. In 2012, she became a qualified accountant, and then joined Ruby Films as Head of Finance, where she was exposed to film production finance and was credited for films such as Suffragette and Gemma Bovery. She wanted to broaden her production horizons even further, and moved to the all-round studio Pulse Films as Financial Controller. After two amazing years, she took the leap to go freelance and specialise in providing media finance support and advice to start-up production companies, which is how she came in contact with True To Nature.