BBC Studios hires WarnerMedia alum to lead new-look Children’s unit

JoJo and Gran Gran

BBC Studios (BBCS) has named WarnerMedia’s Cecilia Persson as MD of its soon-to-be expanded Children’s division.

Persson starts in January next year and will oversee all areas of the BBC’s kids programming operation,  working to “drive an ambitious global strategy,” according to BBCS.

Commercial considerations

The appointment comes ahead of the broadcaster’s in-house Children’s Production arm – which is behind shows such as Blue Peter and My Mum Tracy Beaker – becoming part of BBCS from April 2022.

Cecilia Persson

The shift will enable the production division to access the commercial model used by BBCS since 2017, which sees it competing for commissions and working for a range of customers rather than just its sibling pubcaster.

Persson had been at WarnerMedia for more than 15 years, most recently as VP of programming & content strategy for EMEA, acquisition & co-production international.

She left last December following a restructuring ahead of the launch of streamer HBO Max, as revealed by TBI.

BBCS structure

Moving BBC Children’s in-house production into BBCS was revealed by director general, and former BBCS CEO, Tim Davie in March as part of a strategy to increase commercial revenues.

The enlarged division will house BBCS Children’s shows such as Bluey and Hey Duggee, as well as in-house programming including JoJo & Gran Gran.


The new-look structure will see director of children’s content, Henrietta Hurford-Jones, and her team moving from the BBC’s content partnerships division to BBCS Productions, mirroring changes that have already taken place within scripted and unscripted genres.

Ralph Lee, CEO of BBCS Productions, described the forthcoming merger of Children’s as “an exciting development full of opportunities” and said Persson would ensure “it becomes an integral part of BBC Studios next year.”

Persson added: “BBC Studios has bold ambitions to grow the value provided to younger audiences and I am looking forward to joining the brilliant teams on this journey.”

Read Next