‘Mobeen Azhar and Jez Lee have proved fearless in their commitment to digging below the surface of communities to uncover bigger truths’
Since joining forces three years ago, journalist and presenter Mobeen Azhar and former 7Wonder head of factual Jez Lee have proved fearless in their commitment to digging below the surface of communities to uncover bigger truths.
Two Forest shows in particular have made waves. For BBC Three series Scam Land: Money, Mayhem And Maseratis, shortlisted for this year’s Best Documentary Series, Azhar secured a bombshell interview with Instagram ‘forex trader’ Gurvin Singh.
Meanwhile, with BBC2’s The Battle For Britney, Forest applied its rigorous journalism to pop culture and music for the first time.
Forest ventured into new territory with BBC3’s Santa The Serial Killer, in which Azhar heads to Toronto to explore the relationship between the city’s queer community, police and immigrant population, through the case of a serial killer.
Azhar put himself on the map in 2019 with his BBC Three series Hometown: A Killing, which he has since revisited for a BBC Sounds podcast. For series two, emerging talent Amber Haque was handed the reins to look at the murder of a teenager in her native Manchester.
As for that name? Forest plants a new tree for each person it works with. Within three years, it has planted 143.
The sports indie continued to punch above its weight last year, building excitement in the run-up to the Olympics with 12-week series Winter Pass and producing Eurosport’s daily highlights show Beijing Today. It also bagged big names for an LGBTQ+ special of its Eurosport/Discovery weekly topical magazine show The Power Of Sport.
In its third year of business, this Bristol indie delivered 21 hours of broadcast TV, including Sky History four-parter Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter, US rock series Frontmen, and two Channel 5 titles: Adele: 30 Greatest Moments and Costco: Secrets Of The Cash & Carry.
Long Story TV
Paul Marquess and Donna Wiffen’s light-footed drama indie is behind the first C4/S4C co-production: psychological thriller The Light In The Hall, starring Alexandra Roach and Joanna Scanlan. Long Story’s oneepisode- a week shooting schedule for Northern Irish BBC One daytime drama Hope St has secured two 20-part runs in little over a year, while London Kills has now had four series on Acorn.
Mam Tor Productions
With its first commission – six-part drama Chloe – becoming one of BBC One’s most acclaimed and watched dramas of the year, and picked up by Amazon, it’s unsurprising that Banijay UK swooped for this London indie in October. Alice Seabright’s debut series as creator and showrunner typifies the company’s commitment to new talent.
The Format Factory
The Devon-based unscripted sister of drama indie Free@Last has evolved into fully fledged indie in the past year, with two docs for CBBC strand My Life. Its BritBox chart-topping first feature, Gerry Anderson: A Life Uncharted, brought the late Thunderbirds creator to life using ‘deepfake’ AI technology.
Award sponsored by Versa Studios