Today Sky announced that Ian France and Estelle Hughes will join as Commissioning Editors for Kids in two newly created roles, as Sky steps up its ambitions for Kids programming. France and Hughes will join Sky in the coming weeks to work alongside Lucy Murphy, who has been promoted to Director of Kids’ Content for the UK & Ireland, effective immediately.
France worked as Head of Presentation for BBC Children’s and as Executive Producer for shows including CBeebies Bedtime Stories and Saturday Mash Up. Under his tenure the iconic CBeebies Bedtime Story became something of a social phenomenon for parents as well as kids.
Hughes joins Sky from Roobydoo Media where she was joint owner and MD and worked as Executive Producer of CITV’s ambitious CGI retelling of Thunderbirds Are Go. Before this Hughes was Controller at CITV working on shows such as Ministry of Mayhem, Deputy Head of Acquisitions and Animation at BBC Children’s and Head of Development at Disney Channel UK. Hughes also previously worked at Sky as Acquisitions Manager.
Lucy Murphy, Director of Kids Content at Sky, said, “Ian and Estelle will bring a huge wealth of experience and understanding of our audience of 1-12 year olds and their changing viewing behaviours. This, alongside their senior production experience, will help realise our vision for Sky Kids to be the best dedicated entertainment experience for kids, bringing the very best original content to our service, alongside all our brilliant kids channels.“
Murphy will continue to report to Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky in the UK and Ireland, leading on all aspects of the Sky Kids business including an increase in originals, following the success of Morph, Moominvalley and BAFTA winning Play Your Pets Right.
Murphy was appointed Sky’s first Head of Kids Content in 2015. She is responsible for Sky’s Kids content across all platforms. Her role includes acquisitions and commissions of original content for kids in all genres, including games and interactive. Murphy has over 20 years of experience producing and developing shows for children’s and family audiences. As a Producer, Script Editor and Development Executive, Murphy has worked for a diverse slate of clients from small indies to major international media groups on shows including The Gruffalo and Bing Bunny.
Under Murphy’s leadership the Sky Kids app has become a safe space for young person focussed content with parental controls including a sleep mode so parents can moderate screen time and a pin protected Safe Mode so there’s no danger of children straying into any areas of content that are not right for them. This is complimented by the Safe Mode on Sky Q which offers the same parental controls on the Sky Q platform.
Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky said “I’m delighted that Lucy has accepted this new leadership role at Sky. Lucy has been instrumental at establishing successful shows such as Morph, Moominvalley and BAFTA winning Play Your Pets Right. Lucy, joined by Ian and Estelle, will be key in continuing to build the success of Sky Kids, as we look to increase our original kids’ content to give families more of what they love.”
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