Top television production company, Rapid Blue, has announced that Donald Clarke, Executive Producer and founder of production company, Lucky Bean, will be joining the Rapid Blue team as Commercial Director & Executive Producer. In 2016, BBC Worldwide invested in Rapid Blue, which is recognised as the company of choice for producing many international formats and has garnered some of the most prestigious awards in the local and international arena, from SAFTAS to IEMMYS. Over the years, Rapid Blue has produced a range of hit television series including BBC Worldwide’s The Great South African Bake Off, Come Dine With Me South Africa and Strictly Come Dancing as well as others including SA’s Got Talent, Is’thunzi, The X Factor, Four Weddings and Pawn Stars to name but a few.
Duncan Irvine, CEO of Rapid Blue, said, “We are delighted that Donald has agreed to join us at Rapid Blue as he brings deep experience of producing award-winning content in South Africa and across the continent, including some of the world’s most recognisable formats as well as compelling, original shows and branded entertainment. Donald’s first job out of university was with Rapid Blue and so we have a long-established relationship with him.”
Clarke was responsible for producing shows like Masterchef SA, Survivor, Fear Factor and Girl Eats World and has also enjoyed success at the SAFTAS and the IEMMYS. “For over 25 years Rapid Blue have consistently produced compelling content of a world class standard”, said Clark. “I was fortunate to spend my formative years at the company and thoroughly enjoyed the work and the company culture. In deciding to take up the position I am acutely aware that the world of production is rapidly changing. It is a topic I have discussed at length with Duncan and Kee-Leen Irvine and we have a shared vision for television and content in Africa.”
Both Rapid Blue and Lucky Bean have produced extensively across the continent. Rapid Blue has a studio in Lagos and produced X Factor West Africa, Nigeria’s Got Talent and Idols Nigeria as well as filming in multiple countries for Kwesé TV. Lucky Bean has filmed and facilitated in over 30 different African countries with the MTV African Music Awards, Twende Kazi (Kenya) and Club MTV to their name.
Kee-Leen Irvine, MD and Executive Producer of Rapid Blue, who is currently producing the BBC Worldwide format Dancing with the Stars SA for M-Net, said, “We share a similar passion with Donald for great story telling in everything we do as well as an enduring commitment to excellence. I am so thrilled that Donald is coming back to Rapid Blue and together, we will take the company to new heights.”
Clarke agrees; “Africa has incredible stories; our crews are some of the best in the world and our talent is increasingly being recognised on the global stage and technological innovations will make this easier. A world class company like Rapid Blue is perfectly positioned to be able to take advantage of this and I am looking forward to contributing my ideas and experience to the Rapid Blue team.”
Apart from his experience in creating content and show-running, Clarke brings significant expertise in the commercial side of the business and it is in this capacity as Commercial Director that he will be working closely with Duncan Irvine. “I can think of very few people other than Donald that I would like to have alongside me as we go out into the market to secure new projects and explore exciting new markets with clients who are looking to produce innovative content across Africa,” said Irvine.
The last word goes to Clarke, “My partners at Lucky Bean have been gracious enough to grant me this opportunity and I take comfort in the fact that the company is left in capable hands. I am very humbled by this opportunity and look forward to building on the enormous success that Rapid Blue has enjoyed this far.”