That Was the Year That Was (2013): Katie Lander, joint MD, Finestripe Productions

GOOD year, bad year? As 2013 draws to a close, we ask Katie Lander, joint managing director of Finestripe Productions: ‘How has it been for you?’.

Briefly, what is it that you do?

I am joint managing director – along with Sue Summers – of Finestripe Productions, an independent production company based in Glasgow.

Choose three words that sum up 2013 (so far), from a professional point of view.

Award-winning commissions.

In 2012, what was your biggest ambition for 2013, and to what extent did you achieve it?

I wanted Bank of Dave, our series for Channel 4, to break through. The minute I met Dave Fishwick, I knew he would be great for TV.

We devised the idea of setting up a bank and shot a self-funded taster showcasing him and the idea. It took a long time to convince a broadcaster to go with the show and eventually Channel 4 picked it up. We were nominated for all the major awards. We ended up with with a BAFTA Scotland award (Features/Factual Entertainment) and a Royal Television Society award (Nations and Regions Programme), which was very exciting for me and my terrific team at Finestripe.

How has 2013 (so far) been for you, personally?

It’s been exciting, professionally and personally. I have just returned from Australia on a business development trip with TRC [The Research Centre] and it made me realise how lucky we are to make programmes here, where broadcasters still take risks and fully fund shows. There are opportunities there but they are, by comparison, very risk-averse.

Any changes this year in technology, legislation, the economy, etc that have had a relatively significant impact on the business?

The broadcast licence fees are getting smaller and their ambitions are greater. This year we have forged an excellent relationship with the Smithsonian network in the USA who co-produced The Day Kennedy Died with us and ITV. It has sold to over 25 territories.

What looking forward to, in 2014 – personally and professionally?

Building on our 2013 achievements. Teen Canteen started on BBC Two Scotland at the start of the month and it is a really ambitious project. Could school sixth-years set up a takeaway food business using the down time of their school kitchens? We had great support from BBC Scotland and Linlithgow Academy. The website that we created with BBC Learning leaves, we hope, a great legacy.

Our relationship with Smithsonian will also increase next year with another project for them and ITV, plus a major series development.