Janine Thomas has been chosen to take on the role of Commissioning Editor for Current Affairs within the youth segment called Untold. Her immediate superior will be Louisa Compton, who is Head of News and Current Affairs, Specialist Factual and Sports. The youth programming is currently in its second series and has already established itself as a defining feature of the commission’s scope. It stands out for its vibrant and audacious journalism, presenting works like Inside the Shein Machine, Jessie Lingard: Life after Love Island, and The Secrets of UK Prisons.
The central objective of this section has been to craft films that resonate with younger audiences, addressing topics of their concern, fronted by a range of authentic and diverse voices originating from various parts of the UK. Moreover, this strand has taken on the responsibility of discovering new talent and expanding the existing robust pool of production companies supplying content to the broader department.
From January 23 onward, Janine has been serving as the Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, collaborating with Rita Daniels and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the significant segment known as First Cut. She has also been involved with the enduring program First Dates, the second series of Night Coppers, and the fresh instalment of 24 Hours in A&E. Her additional duties encompass working with both on-screen and off-screen talent.
Before this, she held a position at Sky UK, where she oversaw a range of shows on the network’s Documentaries, Crime, and Nature channels. Her achievements include the acclaimed Positive: 30 Years Of HIV In Britain by Arrow Pictures, Minnow’s Mother Teresa, which garnered attention, and the Broadcast Digital Award-nominated Look Away from Top Hat. She also worked on Blast!’s Italia ’90 series.
Janine has also left her mark by nurturing emerging off-screen talent through her initiative called Doc Shorts. This program offered budding filmmakers with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds access to a substantial fund of £500,000 to direct cinematic short films.
In her prior role at Channel 4, Janine served as the Documentary’s Assistant Editor. Her responsibilities encompassed a diverse range of projects, such as Damilola: The Boy Next Door, Secret Life of the Zoo, and 24 Hours in A&E. Additionally, she played a role in commissioning content for the digital Factual strand True Stories and E4. She was a strong advocate for programming dedicated to Black History Month, presenting projects like Gal-dem presents: Black British History, Mo Gilligan’s Black British & Funny, and the film series Take Your Knee off my Neck, created in response to the tragic killing of George Floyd.
Janine Thomas, Commissioning Editor said: “I’m deeply proud to be overseeing this digital series that has proved to be a great success amongst our key demographic. Untold has now established itself as a vehicle for distinctive journalism and nurturing new talent.
Its success has been down to Debbie’s leadership and the N&CA team. I am very much looking forward to commissioning some ground-breaking content and working with both new and established companies.”
Louisa Compton, Head of News and Current Affairs, Specialist Factual and Sport added: “Debbie is a hard act to follow but I’m so excited to see what Janine does with the strand. She’s seriously impressed me with her passion for the audience and her instinctive understanding of what makes a good film. I’m sure Untold will go from strength to strength under her guidance”
On the First Cut Stand Rita Daniels, Commissioning Editor said: “First Cut remains the home of the first-time filmmaker and a launch pad to successful careers. In recent times I am particularly proud of titles such as The Real East Enders and The Boy Who Can’t Stop Dancing -the director of which, Poppy Goodheart, has just completed a feature film focusing on the teacher in The Piano. First Cut will continue to creatively evolve by finding fresh voices, such as rising star Catherine Hart who is making her first film with The Garden.”