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 andSeven 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 18 years Helena has built up a wealth of production management experience 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
Jess Colman is Head of Development for True to Nature with 15 years' experience in developing and making factual television. In this time, she has worked on Fact-Ent, Daytime, Features, Obs Doc and Natural History programming for all the major broadcasters, both within the BBC and leading Indies. Before joining TTN she ran Daytime Development for BBC Bristol, Series Produced the Bafta-award winning ‘Coast’ and ‘Big Blue UK’, and produced prime time shows with talent including Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Jo Frost, Danny Dyer and Hugh Fernley Whittingstall. In Development, she has had series commissioned for BBC ONE, BBC TWO, ITV, CH4, PBS and UKTV.
Tom Jarvis - Series Producer
Tessa Worgan - Assistant Producer
Tony Pius - Development Assistant
Radhika Shukla - Production Finance
Mahnoor Fatima - Finance Assistant