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Alex Sutherland

 

Alex Sutherland co-founded Outsider Television with Callum Macrae in 1993.  She has over 20 years experience of producing, directing and executive producing a wide range of popular, successful and award-winning programmes, formats and series, and spent five years commissioning factual programmes at two of the UK’s major broadcasters, Channel 4 and FIVE.

 

Alex started out as a print journalist, cutting her teeth on the trade magazine Screen International before becoming media correspondent for The Sunday Times at an exciting but turbulent period of change within the industry – the birth of multi-channel television.  She then moved into TV, racing quickly through a number of  researching, APing, and producing jobs (Hard News for C4, Bite Back for the BBC) before she and Callum Macrae hooked up to launch Outsider.

 

 

 

 

She directed the company’s first film – the award-winning investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches into the sinking of the Marchioness – which prompted Guardian TV critic Nancy Banks Smith to describe the new company as ‘a brilliant baby’.  (see full Guardian review in News, Reviews and Blogs)

 

Alex went on to produce and direct five further Dispatches for C4, including investigations into juvenile prostitution, lorry safety and care in the community, and then in 1996 she produced & directed the Channel 4 film which broke the strory of the Bristol Royal Infirmary scandal, The Lost Children revealing for the first time the shocking record of the hospital’s two paediatric cardiac surgeons. The repercussions of the case reverberate throughout the NHS to this day.

For the BBC she produced and directed a history of education for a series marking the 50th anniversary of the Welfare State, and in 1994 a one-off special The Last Colony to mark the 25th anniversary of British troops in Northern Ireland for C4.

 

Alex developed and produced a popular early-evening format series for C4 called The Number 10 Show where prominent figures were given the chance to be Prime Minister for a week, before going on to series produce two series of the early-evening personal finance show Mrs Cohen’s Money for C4, presented by 60-year old private stock market investor Mrs Bernice Cohen.

 

Alex then delved into Britain’s criminal underclass and broke new ground when she series produced two highly successful C4 documentary series, Behind the Crime & The Art of Crime, which presented details of convicts’ criminal modus operandi.

Alex rejoined forces with Callum Macrae to exec produce Outsider TV’s behind the scenes documentary about the UK’s famous toyshop, Hamleys, A Real Toy Story for C4 which won the Wincott Business award.

 

In October 2001 Alex joined Channel Four as a commissioning editor in the Science & Education department.  Initially in charge of science programming, including the Equinox strand, she oversaw over 20 hours of single programmes and series in production.  Commissions included How the Twin Towers Collapsed, the channel’s highest rating factual show of the year, Torso in the Thames an investigation into the police enquiry into a young boy’s found in the Thames, and Equinox films on Time Travel and the Earth’s Magnetic Flip.

 

For six months Alex worked jointly for C4’s Current Affairs department where she helped commission Dispatches and develop Risking It All.

 

Alex joined FIVE in 2004, initially responsible for the science output, including Extraordinary People, and developed popular formatted series such as Building the Ultimate, Fifth Gear, and the Britain’s Worst... franchise, which she developed into high-rating factual entertainment shows.

 

She became Controller, History expanding the Revealed strand into one of the most successful on FIVE with films on D Day, The Great Escape, The Da Vinci Code and How M & S Lost Its Billions, increasing viewing figures and winning several awards.  

She became Controller, History expanding the Revealed strand into one of the most successful on FIVE with films on D Day, The Great Escape, The Da Vinci Code and How M & S Lost Its Billions, increasing viewing figures and winning several awards.

 

Alex also pioneered live factual events at the channel with shows such as Fighter Plane Dig Live!, Pompeii Live! and the controversial Birth Night Live, as well as developing and commissioning two series of Big Ideas that Changed the World, in which world figures such as Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu and Jesse Jackson told the history of movements like Communism and Christianity through their own life experiences.  

 

She devised and commissioned the 3-part series Disappearing Britain with the BFI, combining social history with personal biography of the presenters Sarah Lancashire, Ricky Tomlinson and Wendy Craig.

 

And Alex took FIVE way out of its box by commissioning commemorative poems from Simon Armitage to mark the anniversaries of WW2, A Time of Rejoicing and 9/11 Out of the Blue which won an RTS Award in 2007.   And she developed and commissioned the 6-part series Brits who made the Modern World, presented by Peter Snow, and Dangerous Adventures for Boys.

 

She now combines her work for Outsider with work as a freelance consultant and senior executive producer for a number of independent television companies and broadcasters, including Dragonfly Film and Television, National Geographic Channel, and ITV.

 

For Dragonfly she exec produced C4’s latest series of Worlds and Me…with Mark Dolan (TX April 2010), was responsible for developing and exec producing the BBC1 documentary From Woolies to Wellies: One Woman’s Fight for the High Street (one of the BBC1’s highest rating 9pm factual shows last year) and the 4-part natural history series Among the Apes, presented by Charlotte Uhlenbroek for FIVE.

 

As a representative of National Geographic Channel, Alex oversees many of the broadcaster’s high profile commissions from the UK’s independents, including a new series The Birth of Britain presented by Tony Robinson (Nat Geo/C4), Britain’s Underworld (True North), two series of Britain’s Greatest Machines …with Chris Barrie, and the observational documentary series Sea Patrol (Wall to Wall).

 

Alex is also executive producing a documentary for ITV and last year executive produced for September Films (Extraordinary People for FIVE), and worked as a consultant for the new owners of the Pathe archives.