Creative Mentors

To help production companies reach their full potential, the Fund has Creative Mentors who provide strategic advice and to the founders and their teams. Their experience across BBC and Discovery Channels as well as the Indie sector gives valuable Media business acumen to the Growth Fund companies. Their insight can help with a company’s strategic planning, refining development slates as well as business coaching.

Our Creative Mentors help select companies to become part of the Growth Fund as well as sitting on the fund’s Advisory Board. Meet them below.
Portrait of Lorraine Heggessey

Lorraine Heggessey Independent Advisor

Lorraine Heggessey Independent Advisor

Lorraine Heggessey is the Chair of the Grierson Trust and is one of the UK's best known media executives with wide ranging experience across the broadcasting and production sector.

She started her career as a journalist and produced current affairs, science and general documentaries for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The first female Controller of BBC One, Lorraine comprehensively rebranded the channel turning it into the most popular network in the UK. She launched a raft of hit shows including Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Spooks. She then became Chief Executive of TalkbackThames which produced over 600 hours of TV a year, including Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor and The Apprentice.

Lorraine went on to launch a new nations and regions indie group, Boom Pictures, and grew it to become the eighth largest production group in the UK in under two years after acquiring the Welsh company Boomerang Plus and Plymouth-based Two Four. The group was subsequently bought by ITV. She then moved into the charitable sector as CEO of The Royal Foundation the main philanthropic vehicle for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Lorraine is an Independent Advisor to Channel 4's Growth Fund and a member of Angel Academe a group that backs female-led tech companies.

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Sarah Doole

Sarah Doole Creative Mentor

Sarah Doole Creative Mentor

Sarah Doole is founder and CEO of Sow the Seed, a unique incubator company focusing on new talent and under-represented voices, bringing the very best international storytelling to market across drama, comedy, entertainment and documentaries. Formerly Sarah was Head on International Drama at Fremantle, CEO of Red Productions and Head of Drama and Comedy at BBC Worldwide. She currently consults on scripted projects for and is a non-executive director with independent production companies. She sits on the Board of Screen Yorkshire and is a Creative Director at Anton Corp for TV Drama.

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Portrait of Tracy Forsyth

Tracy Forsyth Creative Mentor

Tracy Forsyth Creative Mentor

Tracy Forsyth is an experienced commissioner for UK and international TV channels, including BBC Worldwide, BBC Television and UKTV. 

Tracy has a track record of developing, funding and scaling unscripted IP for global audiences. As Genre Director, Factual Entertainment and Formats at BBC Worldwide, she enabled the global roll out of high profile international brands such as Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear and The Great British Bake Off. She is also Professional CoActive Executive coach working with high potential creatives and leaders in the industry and the Producer of the Women in Film & Television Mentoring Scheme for mid-career women.  

Tracy joined the Channel 4 Indie Growth Fund in January 2019 as a creative mentor and advisory board member.

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Andrew Sheldon Creative Mentor

Andrew Sheldon Creative Mentor

Andrew has spent more than 30 years working in network television in the UK – first as a programme maker and then as the co-founder of Leeds based factual company True North.

During his tenure, the company went from a ‘start up’ to become the biggest independent production company outside of the M25, with a team of more than 150 working for all the key broadcasters across multiple genres.

The company was one of the original cohort of companies chosen by the Growth Fund for investment in 2014, and went on to be the first to ‘exit’ the fund when it was fully acquired by Sky in 2017.  

Andrew has extensive knowledge of UK broadcasting, both as a programme maker and as an industry figure, having previously appeared in Broadcast Magazine’s annual list of industry influencers.

After recently stepping down from True North, he continues to work as an executive producer.

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