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Vivian McGrath

 Vivian McGrath Executive Producer  Email 


Viv is a freelance Executive Producer, currently working with Darlow Smithson on a

10-part Drama Documentary Series – the third series of their successful brand ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’ and developing new ideas.   As a highly regarded Executive Producer, she is most known for: documentaries and documentary series that combine powerful human interest narratives, with credible science and/or journalism – programmes that have global appeal.  


Viv has a solid reputation in the industry as an Executive Producer that can deliver and has strong relationships with commissioning editors across all the UK broadcasters.   She brings out the best in her teams and is respected as a leader.    As a business manager Viv has a very clear idea about managing budget forecasts, cash flow, bringing programmes in on budget and delivering solid profit margins.      


Gecko Productions:   

Vivian McGrath ran Gecko Productions, her own independent television production company, from October 2006 – February 2009. 


Films include:  

The Girls Who Were Found Alive, for Channel 4’s prestigious documentary strand Cutting Edge - an exclusive access documentary on Charlene Lunnon and Lisa Hoodless, two young girls who were abducted eight years ago and miraculously rescued 5 days later.     Cheetah Man – a human interest natural history documentary featuring Olivier Houalet, a modern day Tarzan with an extraordinary affinity with wild Cheetahs - for Five.    Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict –  a film shot by heroin addict Ben Rogers during the last two years of his life and just hours before his death.  A raw and unflinching portrait of one man’s descent into addiction and the impact it had on his middle class family, for SKY ONE.  This documentary premiered at the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival.   The Girl in the Box a documentary, for Five, on Colleen Stan who, as a 17-year-old hitchhiker, was kidnapped by a sadistic sexual torturer and held in a box under his bed for 7 years.  How was one man able to control her so totally that she refused to escape when she had the chance and even wrote him love letters?    Ex Forces & Homeless, for BBC ONE – authored by ex-SAS Ken Hames who goes on a journey to find out why so many of UK’s homeless are ex forces and ends up confronting his own demons along the way.    Other titles include: The Sex Chamber; Naked Parents for Five and Me & My Man Boobs for BBC3.  


Redback Films:

Prior to Gecko Productions Viv was Managing Director of Redback Films, owned by The Television Corporation - which made the successful returnable brand ‘Conspiracies…’ (presented by Danny Wallace) and documentary series such as ‘Killing Mum & Dad’; ‘Surviving … (Serial Killers)’ and documentaries for SKY ONE: ‘Stoned in Suburbia’. For Channel 4: ‘Bobby Friction: Generation 7/7’; ‘Artshock’; ‘A Swinging Murder’ and BODYSHOCK:‘The Eighty-Year-Old Children’ and ‘Kill Me to Cure Me’.    At Redback she was also Executive Producer on the three-hour Primetime ABC America exclusive access documentary, 'The American Imposter’ on Christopher Buckingham who stole his name from a dead baby and faked his identity for 23 years, presented by Martin Bashir.    



Viv began her career in the UK as Executive Producer at Mentorn.  There she created and Executive Produced ‘Twins: the Identity Test’ for BBC ONE - a popular science experiment in search of the most identical, identical twins in Britain.  This went on to become the hit format ‘…. Most Identical’ - sold to around 20 countries and become a returnable brand in many.   At Mentorn, she was most known for some of the most high profile and highest rating Channel 4 Body Shock and Five's Extraordinary People documentaries such as:   The Boy Who Gave Birth to his Twin; The Man Who Slept for 19 years; The Curse of the Mermaid; Megatumour; Archie: the Six Stone Baby.   Other programmes include:   The 3-week fast turnaround documentary ‘Tsunami: the Day the Wave Struck’ – for Five and National Geographic in the U.S.     ‘Mao’s Children’ – a documentary authored by Marcel Theroux, for Channel 4’s China Season on China’s Generation X.    ‘Living Pulse’ – 52 x 30” episodes of a magazine show on cutting edge medicine, shot globally, for Discovery Channel.   ‘EVISION’ – Series Producer / Producer Director – an international magazine show, based on The Economist magazine, working in conjunction with the magazine’s Editor and key journalists.  


Fox News / Newsasia – HONG KONG:

Before coming to the UK in 1999, Viv was Senior Producer, running the Asia Bureau in Hong Kong for FOX NEWS covering such global stories as President Bill Clinton’s tours to China, Japan & Korea; the fall of President Suharto in Indonesia; and the NATO bombings of Kosovo.     In Hong Kong she also ran her own independent news bureau, Newsasia, which represented broadcasters across the world during the HK handover to China.  Through Newsasia Viv was a Foreign Correspondent for Channel Seven Australia for 6 years, covering such stories as the Kobe earthquake in Japan; the Pope’s visit to Manila, Philippines; and the British handover of HK to China.   ABC Australia:

In Australia Viv was a Producer/Reporter on prime time ABC flagship shows ‘The Investigators’ an investigative consumer programme; and ‘The 7.30 Report’, a nightly live current affairs programme.  


Public Speaking:


Viv is a regular panelist at various Documentary Film Festivals – for example:


• The ‘Norwegian Media Festival’ - Bergen, Norway

• The ‘Danish Documentary Festival’ - Copenhagen, Denmark

• The ‘Sheffield Documentary Film Festival’  - Sheffield, UK

• The ‘World Science Producers’ Congress’ – various locations around the world

• Documentary Filmmakers’ Group – London, UK

Viv is the daughter of Amy McGrath and Frank McGrath.  She is the sister of Ros Croucher and my 5 x cousin.

04 June 2009 DSP Expands Exec Team With Appointment Of Viv McGrath


An IMG Media Company, Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP), has expanded its team of executive producers with the appointment of former Gecko Chief Executive Viv McGrath. McGrath joins DSP on a long-term freelance contract following the closure of Gecko in February this year.


While at Gecko, McGrath executive produced a number of high profile documentaries, each of which combined powerful human interest narratives with credible science and journalism.  These included The Girls Who Were Found Alive (C4), The Girl In The Box (Five), Ben: A Heroin Addict's Diary (Sky One) and Interview With a Serial Killer (Five).  Prior to this, McGrath was Managing Director of Redback Films, owned by The Television Corporation and was an Executive Producer at Mentorn.


In this time, she produced many highly successful documentaries and documentary series, including Conspiracies and Killing Mum and Dad ( Sky One), The Real Jackal Revealed (ABC) and several programmes in both C4's Body Shock strand and Five's Extraordinary People series.  Tom Brisley, Creative Director of Darlow Smithson Productions, said: "Viv is an incredibly well respected and talented producer and we are delighted she is joining our team. Viv brings with her a wealth of experience producing high quality popular factual television for both UK and international broadcasters and will play an important role in bolstering our output in this area."  Viv McGrath added: "I have huge respect for Darlow Smithson's calibre of creative talent and high quality production values and feel that it's a company that will not only be a great fit for me, but will stretch me further as an exec. I'm excited to be a part of their team."