Jackie Edwards, Head of Fund
Jackie joined the BFI in 2019 to shape and launch the Young Audiences Content Fund. She was the BBC’s Head of Children’s Acquisitions and Independent Animation since 2015, delivering programming for 0-16 year olds. As well as overseeing the strategy for her department, Edwards was responsible for pre-buying and acquiring live-action and animated programming. She joined the BBC in 2008 as CBeebies Content Manager and later as Executive Producer, working on programmes including Tree Fu Tom, Octonauts, Bing, Rastamouse and Clangers.
Prior to the BBC, Edwards was a freelancer, working on the development, finance and production of shows for a variety of companies such as LEGO, CBBC, Three Stones Media and Mackinnon and Saunders. She started her television career in animation in 1995 as a production assistant with Hibbert Ralph Entertainment (later Silver Fox Films), going on to produce many prestigious specials and award-winning series.
John Knowles, YACF Executive – Production
John Knowles is a BAFTA nominated Children’s TV Producer who has been working as a Development Producer for the In-house Animation and Puppetry department in BBC Children’s for the last two years. Prior to that he worked for Brown Bag Films on Nickelodeon’s series Nella the Princess Knight, Factory Transmedia on Disney’s Club Penguin TV Specials, Laughing Gravy Media on the international co-production series Dinopaws for CBeebies in the UK and Treehouse TV in Canada and Impossible Pictures on CITV’s series Fleabag Monkeyface. He has also Produced and Directed a group of commercials for The Co-op Bank, worked in live entertainment for NBCUniversal, as well as various other factual, documentary and digital content for a variety of companies. He also likes to do funny voices on the side.
Harriet Williams, YACF Executive – Development
Harriet started working in children’s television in 2012 at Disney Channel EMEA, originally as part of the Standards & Practices team. Building on her degree in Scriptwriting for Film & Television, Harriet moved into Original Programming to work on the development and production of scripted live action series, including The Evermoor Chronicles & Disney’s The Lodge. Most recently as Creative Supervisor, Harriet worked closely with production companies and writers on several development and pilot projects.
Hesham Sabry, YACF Business Affairs Executive
Hesham has been at the BBC for six years working in the commercial, rights and business affairs team as a manager across the full range of output. He headed the acquisition and independent commissioning legal work and also provided legal and business affairs support to high profile in house titles like Blue Peter. Prior to the BBC, Hesham gained 13 years in private practice, including owning his own law firm, Sabry Doyle.
Gill Biddle, YACF Project Manager
Gill graduated in 2008 with a BA(Hons) degree in Animation and Design from the University of Sunderland during which she discovered her penchant for all things organisational and logistical related to content making. Gill has since gone on to work across various independent productions in a Project and Production Management capacity including titles for the BBC, ITV, the Smithsonian Channel and National Geographic. Since 2012, Gill has gained extensive experience of the Children’s broadcasting landscape and the varying factors that have affected its output over the years.
Chandan Shergill, YACF Coordinator
Since graduating from the University of Bristol in French and German, Chandan has worked abroad as well as in London and Manchester, where she is currently based. Chandan spent several years working in a factual talent agency in London mainly with TV presenters, working across numerous children’s shows and live events. More recently in Manchester she has worked in the public and charity sector.
Aisha Jan, YACF Administrator
Aisha Jan is originally from Bradford and having attained an English Literature degree from the University of Chester, she is thrilled to keep on finding valuable, creative opportunities to contribute to the arts culture in the North. She has been working at Sheffield Doc/Fest assisting the small, but wonderful, marketing team contributing to the unique Doc/Fest voice. She is incredibly excited to join the Young Audiences Content Fund team in the project’s bid to diversify content for children.