Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Meet Ana De Moraes, the woman charged with rejuvenating the BBC

  • @iburrell

Having begun her career as a computer games journalist in her native Brazil, Ana De Moraes is to take on one of the most important creative roles at the BBC.

The BBC’s Director of Television, Danny Cohen, has head-hunted Ms De Moraes from independent company Twenty Twenty Productions, where she made her name launching the career of Gareth Malone in BBC2’s "The Choir".

Ms De Moraes, 36, will have the task of rejuvenating the BBC’s production teams by leading a new Central Development Unit being set up by Mr Cohen.

“There’s a big challenge but it’s a very exciting time to be joining because there’s a lot of change going on at the BBC,” she told The Independent.

“Sometimes the BBC’s In-house [production] is almost forgotten by TV development people as a place to go to with exciting shows. This is all about finding great talent and great ideas.”

Ms De Moraes is credited with “discovering” Mr Malone, a London choirmaster who became the presenter of the long-running, Bafta-winning series. She also worked on the BBC1 Georgian legal drama "Garrow’s Law", which won an award from the Royal Television Society for best history programme.

In making "The World’s Strictest Parents" she worked closely with Mr Cohen, when he was controller of youth-orientated channel BBC3. She will take the title of BBC Production’s Creative Director, Development.

The Central Development Unit is an important feature in Director General Tony Hall’s wider plans to revive creativity at the BBC. Mr Cohen, who hopes the BBC will adopt some of the dynamism of the independent production sector in making its own shows, said: “Back in September I said that increasing our focus on development was crucial to the growth, quality and range of BBC In-house production. I am absolutely delighted that Ana is joining the BBC. I have worked with her over many years on BBC1 and BBC3 and believe her to be one of the industry’s leading development creatives.”

Ms De Moraes worked closely with the pop star Rihanna in executive producing Styled to Rock, the singer’s fashion show for Sky Living, which was not a ratings success. She said it was an “exciting” show which gave her experience of working with the music industry. “Rihanna was really hands on with that project,” she said.

After working as a computer games journalist in Brazil, Ms De Moraes came to Britain in 2000 and began writing about London for a Brazilian newspaper. She entered the television industry by joining independent company Endemol before she was hired by Twenty Twenty in 2004, being later promoted to Director of Development. Other shows she has worked on include First Dates and My Transsexual Summer, both for Channel 4.

Tim Carter, chief executive of Twenty Twenty, said she was an exceptional talent. “All sorts of people work in development in television but there are very few people who have genuinely original ideas and Ana is one of those people. She has a very original and quirky creative mind.”

He said her appointment by the BBC was “a testimony to the creativity of the independent sector” and that she would bring a competitive mind set to BBC Production. “I can absolutely see why they have hired her,” he said.

The hits: Ana De Moraes' successful shows

The Choir (BBC2)

Bafta-winning format for spreading the appeal of choral singing, it made a star of choirmaster Gareth Malone.

Garrow’s Law (BBC1)

Legal period drama about the ground-breaking lawyer William Garrow, it won an award from the Royal Television Society.

Styled to Rock (Sky Living)

Entertainment format challenging designers to create a stage outfit for the pop star Rihanna, who was presenter and an executive producer of the show.