The former Fulwell73 and Zeppotron Exec joins Studio71 UK in a newly created role to further supercharge the company’s development slate following its successful broadcast commissions.
Studio71 UK, a Red Arrow Studios company, today announces the hire of Joe Varley as Director of Development.
In his new position, Varley will lead the expansion of Studio71 UK’s development slate, across comedy entertainment, factual and scripted comedy, reporting to Jody Smith, Studio71 UK VP Creative Director.
A veteran of the television industry, Varley joins the team with over a decade of experience. Previously, he has held Development Executive roles at Fulwell73 and Wonder TV Productions, and Head of Development at Endemol-owned Zeppotron and Tiger Aspect. His credits include BAFTA-winning Fonejacker (E4/C4) and Facejacker (C4) as well as developing BAFTA-winning Murder in Successville (BBC Three), Drunk History UK (Comedy Central), viral hit Little Prankers (BBC Three), and he is the creator of ITV’s Dinner Date format. Throughout his career, he has created, developed and produced television programmes for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Comedy Central and has multiple other production credits under his belt including Room 101 (BBC), Britain Today Tonight (C4) and Alan Carr: Chatty Man (C4).
Varley’s addition will boost Studio71 UK’s development slate following several new scripted and unscripted commissions for multiple broadcasters and platforms, including: recently-announced reality wedding show Countdown To I Do is in production for TLC, following a 2019 wedding series also for the channel; an 18-part series, Forged With Steele, for HISTORY UK with blacksmith Alec Steele; and the scripted comedy series Fully Blown with breakout viral talent Donna Preston and Verona Rose for BBC Three. Studio71 UK has also created formats for social including several BBC Factual series such as IGTV doc Fashion Conscious and three series for BBC’s Tiny Happy People and has produced original series for digital platforms such as Snapchat.
Jody Smith, Studio71 UK VP Creative Director, says: “Joe’s passion for new talent and ability to develop smart, funny ideas makes him the perfect fit for Studio71. Through our talent agency Moxie, we work with some of the UK’s best entertainers for young, diverse audiences, creating fun factual and comedy entertainment. In Joe we have found someone who knows how to build exciting TV projects around this type of talent, and make use of the detailed knowledge we have of their audience’s behaviour.”
Varley adds, “While it may be a while before we can all brainstorm in the same room again, now is an incredibly exciting time to join such a fresh thinking company. As TV is increasingly being challenged by online and new platforms, Studio71 is brilliantly positioned to bridge that gap, and with my passion for working with new talent and creating fun formats, I hope to bring more inventiveness and escapism to screen.”
Part of Red Arrow Studios, Studio71 was established in the UK in 2017 as a multi-channel network and now works with hundreds of digital creators across multiple platforms. It began its production unit and podcast network in 2018, and has since created shows for linear and digital, and has a slate of ten different podcasts covering comedy, health & wellbeing, film, food and sex & relationships. In 2019, it launched its boutique talent agency, Moxie to help discover and empower talented entertainers from the digital space, which picked up Best Agency for New Talent Edinburgh TV Festival’s New Voice Awards in February 2020.
For further information on Studio71 UK or its production slate, contact email@example.com.
The sex-positive podcast, F**ks Given with YouTubers ComeCurious is one of only five podcasts selected in the Health & Wellness category for this prestigious accolade.
Studio71 UK, a Red Arrow Studios company, announces it has been nominated for Best Health & Wellness Podcast in the 24th Annual Webby Awards. The podcast is one of five best podcasts selected in the category and is one of 13,000 entries received in this year’s Awards ranging from over 70 countries worldwide.
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honour” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honouring excellence on the Internet.
IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, is comprised of Internet industry experts including Instagram Co-founder Kevin Systrom, Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker and 23andMe Co-Founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki.
“Nominees like Studio71 UK are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,000 entries we received this year.”
Fans Can Vote Online to Help F**ks Given Win the Internet’s Top Honour
‘F**ks Given’ is a weekly podcast hosted by sex-positive activists and YouTubers Come Curious (Florence Barker and Reed Amber) which helps to further the conversation around sex, helping dismantle its taboos – particularly for young people. The podcast, which has had over 1 million downloads since it was launched, asks both guests and listeners to celebrate their sexual pasts and participate in the conversation around sexual histories to promote a healthy and honest culture around sex.
Having actively broadened the discourse around sexual education and enjoyment with their YouTube channel, Come Curious have become pioneering figures in the underserved sexual wellness space and possess a young, highly engaged and growing audience previously not served by traditional sex education. ComeCurious are signed to Studio71 UK’s boutique talent management company Moxie, and are one of over thirty social talents on its client roster it is developing for different platforms.
The podcast is eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online. From now until May 8th, F**ks Given fans can cast their votes here
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, and honoured in an Internet Celebration on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.
‘F**ks Given is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, acast & all good streaming platforms. It is a Studio71 production, produced by Jack Claramunt and Winnie Simon, executively produced by Tom Payne and Jody Smith. For more information on Studio71 or its podcast slate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Webby Awards
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honour” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international awards organization honouring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Video, Advertising, Media & PR, Apps, Mobile, and Voice, Social, Podcasts, and Games. Established in 1996, this year’s Webby Awards received nearly 13,000 entries from all 50 states and 70 countries worldwide. The Webby Awards are presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: WP Engine, Monday.com, Slack, YouGov, BASIC, KPMG, Adweek, Fast Company, The New Museum, and Social Media Week.
BBC Comedy & BBC Three commission Studio71 UK scripted comedy ‘Fully Blown’ as part of Threesomes strand
The 3×3’ minute series follows two best friends, Vanessa and Demi, who rise above their boring, sometimes painful lives by creating superstar rap personas – Starz and Gap C. These Southampton girls know you’ve gotta “fake it ‘til you make it” and then fake it some more. But will their success ever catch up with their ambition?
Studio71 UK, a Red Arrow Studios company, has been commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of BBC Comedy, and Fiona Campbell, Controller of BBC Three, to produce ‘Fully Blown’, a new scripted short-form series.
The series stars Verona Rose and Donna Preston, comedy performers and writers who first came to Studio71 UK’s attention when a comedy skit they made went viral. Sarah Morgan (‘Not Going Out’, ‘Intelligence’) wrote ‘Fully Blown’ together with Rose and Preston, and it is directed by Ella Jones (‘Foot in Mouth’, ‘Sarah Chong is Going to Kill Herself’).
‘Fully Blown’ is inspired by Donna and Southampton-born Verona’s real-life experiences, and follows the story of two friends, Vanessa (played by Verona) who is torn between sticking with her comfortable, safe but hum-drum career or joining best pal Demi on chasing the dream they’ve had since childhood – to become music stars.
In the three-part series, we follow the duo on one of Demi’s side hustles as she tried to scrape together enough money to fund a music video shoot. They manage to blag a cameo in a music video of one of the UK’s leading grime stars – but their tactic to make a lasting impression doesn’t go to plan. What’s more, Vanessa has an underlying secret that could put an end to their music aspirations and even their friendship.
‘Fully Blown’ is a deep dive into friendship and aims to speak to viewers navigating young adulthood and the complexities of following your dreams in a world that’s increasingly tough for young people. The series plays with the theme of authenticity in an age of social media, where image is everything.
The series is drawn from Verona’s personal experience of growing up in Southampton where she felt, in her own words, ‘Too black for Southampton, but not black enough for London.’
Jody Smith, Studio71 UK’s Creative Director, says “Verona and Donna have created two characters that are so big and have so much heart that it was a challenge to cram them into a short-form series. It’s been fantastic working with them and the hugely talented writer Sarah Morgan and director Ella Jones – all the more special being Studio71 UK’s debut scripted commission.”
Sarah Asante, Commissioning Editor for the BBC, said “I couldn’t be more excited about the transmission of this project because showcasing new and emerging on and off-screen talent is what makes this job so rewarding. The stars of Fully Blown are a triple threat and I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to this project and all the projects we’re backing with the Threesomes strand on BBC Three…”
‘Fully Blown’ will be released by BBC Three. It sees Studio71 UK continuing to develop and produce original series, specifically for the underserved 16-34 bracket. ‘Fully Blown’ follows previous productions from Studio71 UK including factual series, ‘Forged With Steele’ on A+E Network’s HISTORY starring 20-year-old blacksmith and YouTube personality Alec Steele, and three factual short series for BBC, including ‘Sex in Seconds’ hosted by Come Curious, comedy series ‘Period Dramas’ and the upcoming ‘Fashion Conscious’ hosted by Grace Mandeville.
The series is Executive Produced by Jody Smith, Studio71 UK Creative Director and Tom Payne, Head of Content, and the Commissioning Editor is Sarah Asante for the BBC. It will be available on BBC Three.
Created by and starring: Verona Rose and Donna Preston
Also starring: Kemah Bob, Jo Martin, Daniel Barker, Ghetts
Written by: Donna Preston, Verona Rose, Sarah Morgan
Exec Producers: Jody Smith, Tom Payne
Director: Ella Jones
Producer: Alex Wilson
Associate Producers: Donna Preston, Verona Rose
BBC Commissioning Editor: Sarah Asante