BBC Studios announces Creative Residency Recruits

2020 Funny Women Awards runner-up Mary O’Connell, actor Danielle Vitalis and Gal-dem founder Liv Little have won placements to work on comedy projects within the BBC’s production arm.

Following the success of its first intake of ‘Creator Residents’, BBC Studios has unveiled the next batch of recruits to join its Creator Residency initiative. Liv Little, Mary O’Connell and Danielle Vitalis will follow in the footsteps of 2019 Funny Women Awards runner-up Charlie George (Various Artist Limited), Basma Khalifa (Mindhouse) and Ajay Tegala (BBC Studios NHU) on placements covering the factual, comedy and drama genres.

The BBC Studios-funded project pairs emerging content-makers with some of the best in the business from BBC Studios’ production teams or a BBC Studios-invested indie. Each six-month placement sees the individual gain on-the-job experience and mentoring as they develop their craft, with the opportunity to cultivate their own project.

Here’s a little more about each of the new initiates:

  • Award-winning journalist, cultural consultant, creative director and author Liv Little’s career spans audio, journalism and TV. She is also the founder of gal-dem, a media company committed to spotlighting the creative talents of women and non-binary people of colour. Liv has worked in commissioning at the BBC and is now a writer in residence at BBC Studios, where she’s working on an original pilot script. She will take up a split residency, spending half her time with BBC Studios ScriptWorks – the BBC Studios platform dedicated to emerging writers of all levels – and the other half with the multi-award winning BBC Studios Production Factual team, whose remit covers documentary, science and natural history.
  • Comedian and writer Mary O’Connell will take up a residency with Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions. Baby Cow Productions is a multi-award-winning scripted comedy and drama production company whose credits include amongst others, This Time with Alan Partridge and Gavin & Stacey, and movies such as Philomena and Stan and Ollie. O’Connell describes herself as a North London socialite whose stage presence is dangerously aloof. Her comedy offers a left field view of life, making for hilarious and absurd material. She was a runner up in the live 2020 Funny Women Awards Final, longlisted in the Thousand Films Female Writing Competition and was most recently seen on BBC Presents: Stand Up for Live Comedy.
  • Danielle Vitalis is an actress and writer from East London, whose on-screen career has spanned action-adventure film to television comedy. She has appeared in Attack the Block, I May Destroy You, Youngers and Famalam, for which she has also written sketches. As part of her creator residency, Danielle will focus on developing her comic writing skills with BBC Studios’ Comedy Productions, which has a proven track record of working with new and established talent, and whose recent BAFTA wins for Inside No.9 and This Country has consolidated its position as one of the UK’s most awarded comedy producers.

Mark Linsey, BBC Studios’ Chief Content Officer said: “Finding and developing new creative talent lies at the heart of BBC Studios’ future success and is an important part of our work to support the wider industry. Through our Creator Residencies, we aim to identify rising stars and give them the experience and expertise they need to develop, whilst also supporting them as they pursue their own projects. Liv, Danielle and Mary are such exciting new voices with lots of energy and a passion for story-telling. I look forward to seeing how they take advantage of their placements over the next six months to shape their creativity.”

The Creator Residencies have already delivered a successful outcome for alumnus Charlie George. In July 2020 the comedian started her placement with BBC Studios label Various Artist Limited, makers of the multi-award-winning I May Destroy You. During her placement, Charlie’s script was optioned by VAL.

Basma Khalifa is currently undertaking a residency at Louis Theroux’s indie Mindhouse, whilst Ajay Tegala has completed his residency at BBC Studios Natural History Unit working on Springwatch, where he finished his residency by presenting a segment on the show.

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