Julie Heselgrave, Managing Director, Candour Productions
Candour Productions, the multi-award-winning independent production company, specializing in hard-hitting factual content on pressing social issues, has completed some management restructure in the wake of its first significant series commission from BBC Two. Anna Hall, Founder, Director, and Executive Producer of the Leeds-based indie, made the announcement.
“We’ve come out of the shadow of the pandemic stronger than ever and with a host of inspiring commissions this year — and this change in management structure is a reflection of our growth and our business strategy going forward. Candour’s DNA is to make films with courage, truth, and integrity both off-screen and on-screen – and I am so excited that as a female-led indie we now have a strong female senior management team that can help me take Candour to the next level. The commitment, energy, and vision of Julie and Hannah, both of whom are the best in their fields, will help us to achieve that,” Anna Hall said.
Under the new structure, Julie Heselgrave, formerly Head of Production, has been named Managing Director, responsible for Candour’s day-to-day operations, monitoring and evaluating its progress, and exploring new creative and commercial opportunities. Heselgrave has spent her 28-year career in television working for Leeds-based indies, including Chameleon Television and True North. She joined Candour in 2019 and has created a solid production infrastructure and attracted some of the UK’s top factual talent into the company. She also provided the financials to support Candour’s successful Live & Wild consortium bid, which resulted in the award of an 18-month R&D contract from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport to investigate the benefits of 5G technology to the creative industries. Heselgrave will be replaced as Head of Production by Ali Hobbs, who moves up from Production Executive.
Hannah Demidowicz, a specialist in the funding of factual projects, has been appointed as Candour’s first Director of Development, having served in a consultancy capacity for the past year. In her new role, Demidowicz will spearhead Candour’s development strategy and expand its commissioner relationships both in the UK and internationally. A former commissioner at National Geographic Channel and BBC Global Channels, Demidowicz has developed and commissioned hundreds of hours of television, from popular factual hits to award-winning documentaries. In 2018, she became the first-ever commissioning editor to work within a distributor when she joined TCB Media Rights, where she developed innovative new funding models for factual content.
The restructure follows a successful year for Candour that saw it win its first significant series commission, along with three Royal Television Society Yorkshire Awards for Best Indie Spirit, best Factual Post Production for “A Day in the Life of Coronavirus Britain” and best News or Current Affairs Story for “Stacy Dooley and the Lockdown Babies.” Hall also took home the prestigious Best Producer gong at the 2021 Women in Film and TV Awards. Her film “Torn Apart: Family Courts Uncovered” was nominated for the British Journalism Awards for Best Investigation.
In August, it was announced that BBC Two and BBC Nations, under a new co-commissioning strategy aimed at increasing representation from the UK’s regional indies, has ordered “Yorkshire Born.” The 8x60’ series follows the work of the midwives in Bradford who specialize in home births, telling the stories of mums, dads, and families as they go through the life-changing experience of welcoming a new baby. “With exclusive access to the homebirth midwifery team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, ‘Yorkshire Born’ gives audiences access to these local heroes and the community they serve, set against the backdrop of the wonderful city of Bradford and surrounding countryside,” said Aisling O’Connor, Head of TV commissioning for BBC England.