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BBC’s NHU head to stand down

Julian Hector, head of BBC Studio’s renowned Natural History Unit, is to stand down and hand over the reins of the prodco in 2022.

Julian Hector

Hector will leave at the end of 2021 after five years leading the NHU, and almost three decades with the UK pubcaster overall.

Since taking over from Wendy Darke in 2016, Hector has presided over the most successful period in the Bristol-based production house’s 64-year history, with landmark blockbusters Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II, Dynasties and Seven Worlds, One Planet.

The NHU, under Hector’s stewardship, has also won a raft of new commissions with the BBC – including The Green Planet and Frozen Planet II – and with new buyers including Apple’s forthcoming The Year the Earth Changed, National Geographic’s Ocean Xplorers, Endangered for Discovery, and The Americas for NBCU.

Hector began his natural history career at the NHU in 1993, producing series like Battle of the Sexes and Wild Africa and on radio, Slaves to Nature. On becoming editor of natural history radio, he led the development and production of award-winning programmes such as Tweet of the Day, World on the Move, Saving Species, Shared Planet, Natural Histories and Migration Live.

He went on to become an executive producer in television, producing Ivory Wars with Panorama, among others.

Following his departure from the NHU, Hector will pursue other interests connected to wildlife and championing the natural world.

Tom McDonald, BBC Studios’ MD of factual said: “I have nothing but admiration for Julian – he’s been an exceptional colleague. During his tenure, he has put the natural world and the NHU’s people at the centre of his thinking so his departure at the end of the year will be bittersweet. He has transformed the NHU, growing the business and transforming its culture. His legacy will be felt for many years to come – in our output, in the opening of NHU LA and in innumerable other ways.”

Hector added: “It’s a wrench to leave the helm of the Natural History Unit after five wonderful years. I feel honoured to have led the world’s best wildlife filmmaking team in creating such hugely influential work. Rest assured I will continue to weave the natural world into all I do and will always champion the public service ideals of the BBC, surely one of the most important cultural and civilising institutions in the world.”

BBC Studios’ search for Hector’s successor will begin immediately.

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