Colin Callender’s Playground Poaches Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Sophie Gardiner

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Sophie GardinerColin Callender’s production company Playground Entertainment has hired Sophie Gardiner to serve as Creative Director of Playground Television in the UK, TVWise has learned.

As Creative Director, Gardiner will be responsible for developing and producing home-grown UK drama as well taking on an active role in the company’s existing and future co-productions. She will assume the role in January 2015, when Playground opens their new London offices, where she will be based.

Sophie Gardiner joins Playground from Channel 4, where she most recently served as Commissioning Editor, Drama. In that position, Gardiner was responsible for a number of the PSB’s high-profile original drama projects such as Glue, The Mill, Run, Southcliffe,  and the short-lived Utopia, which is currently being adapted for HBO by House of Cards’ David Fincher.

The appointment of Sophie Gardiner is the latest in a series of moves that Playground has made in recent month as part of a concerted effort to expand their business in the UK. Under their plans, Playground Television, based in London, will develop a number of drama projects for the UK market, whilst still pursuing international co-productions. The company started down this past last month with the hire of Louise Pederson (to whom Gardiner will report) as Managing Director of Playground Television.

“Sophie’s work at Channel 4 is a real testament to her keen sense of story, deep relationships with writers and great eye for new talent,” said Colin Callender. “She will play an invaluable role in broadening the Playground slate and expanding our reach into the writing community.  With Sophie on board as Creative Director and the recent addition of Louise Pedersen as Managing Director, our newly created executive team is set to take Playground into its next phase.”

While Sophie Gardiner added: “Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best creative minds and talent in British drama, and am very proud to have been part of the heritage that is Channel 4 drama. I’m incredibly excited about joining Playground, a company that has a track record of making hugely distinctive drama. As Creative Director of Playground’s newly formed UK division, I look forward to continuing to work with the amazing writers, producers and directors we have in the industry, and forging relationships with new ones.”