Bafta to honour Kudos head of production
Kudos’ head of production Alison Barnett, a key creative on shows from Life on Mars and Spooks to Broadchurch and SAS: Rogue Heroes, will receive this year’s Bafta Television Craft Special Award.
The award is one of the highest honours bestowed by Bafta, recognising her pioneering role as one of the very first female heads of production in UK television.
Having worked in the industry for more than 40 years and worked on 400 hours of TV, Barnett has been at Kudos since 2005 and is currently head of production at Kudos, specialising in scripted content. Her output has been a vital part of over 80 Bafta-nominated shows and 14 winning productions.
Barnett started out in theatre and opera stage manager before joining the BBC drama department in junior roles on shows such as Doctor Who, Bergerac and Grange Hill. She subsequently worked as a freelancer for 20 years, with credits including Dennis Potter series Lipstick on Your Collar, Karaoke and Lazarus, and Jimmy Govern’s The Lakes.
Speaking to Broadcast, Barnett said: “It’s wonderful to be recognised for working behind the scenes. It’s also a huge thank you to everyone I have worked with in the past and continue to work with today.
“I want this award to be a positive and uplifting message to everyone who works in production - without you, quite simply there wouldn’t be a show.”
Previous recipients of Bafta Television’s Craft Special Award include the organisation TripleC which acts as a gateway for deaf, disabled and/or neurodivergent people in the arts; the founding directors of The Farm Group Nicky Sargent; and Vikki Dunn and casting director Nina Gold.
The Bafta Craft Awards will take place at The Brewery on Sunday 23 April with Mel Giedroyc returning as ceremony host.
Working in senior production
As one of the first female heads of production in UK TV, Barnett also discussed the difficulties facing those in senior production roles.
Amid a TV talent crunch, senior positions are becoming increasingly marginalised and Barnett described heads of production as “the lynchpin between senior management in the company they work for, the financiers and the cast and crew working on individual productions.”
In drama, the production manager role has come into place within the last decade, something Barnett says coincides with the “ambitious growth” of HETV.
“They are a vital link between what is happening daily on set during filming and reporting back to the line producer and producer.”
Reflecting on the role of production managers, Barnett said that they are a “great stepping stone for those who want to progress their production career”. She warned, however: “It’s a hard, demanding job that asks for a huge commitment.”
“People are moving up the career ladder too quickly and then struggle because they do not have the knowledge and experience to take on the role effectively, and so leave the industry. Much better to take time to learn your craft before moving up and taking on a more senior role.
“For women in particular having had a successful career, then leaving to have a family, to then rejoin the industry is unsustainable.
“We need to look further into how we can make sure that these talented women can return to work and support them.”
This article first appeared on our sister site, Broadcast.
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