• Beat the Chasers co-creator Andy Sockanathan appointed director of development at STV Studios Entertainment
  • Picture Slam co-creator James Smales joins as development executive
  • The pair will work to expand and strengthen STV Studios Entertainment’s slate in the UK and internationally

STV Studios has announced the appointment of Beat the Chasers and Tenable co-creator, Andy Sockanathan, as director of development in its Entertainment division.

He joins from RDF, where for the last two years he has headed up development, latterly as head of entertainment at RDF label, Fizz (Tipping Point). Prior to that, Sockanathan led quiz and game show development at Potato, an ITV Studios label, where he co-created Beat the Chasers. The hit format recently returned to ITV for a sixth series and has been an international success, with local versions created in seven territories including Australia and Spain.

Sockanathan has previously held development roles at BBC Studios, Studio Lambert’s Glitterbox and Endemol’s Initial, where he was co-creator of long-running ITV game show, Tenable. In the newly created position of director of development, Sockanathan will report to STV Studios’ creative director of entertainment, Gary Chippington.

STV Studios Entertainment also welcomes James Smales to the team as development executive. Smales previously worked in the RDF development team, and before this held development roles at Triple Brew Media, Bandicoot and Hungry Bear.

At Triple Brew, Smales developed the Picture Slam format, which was recently launched as an eight-part Saturday night BBC One series hosted by Alan Carr. He also developed the revived Lingo for ITV, which is set to return for a fourth series later this year. Smales’ other credits include The Masked Singer, Gladiators and The Cube.

The pair will work to expand and strengthen STV Studios Entertainment’s slate in the UK and internationally. The slate currently includes iconic game show Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV) and returning hits Bridge of Lies and Celebrity Bridge of Lies (BBC), which has aired in 16 territories since launching in the UK in 2022.

Blockquote open Between them, Andy and James have developed some of the most original and engaging shows on TV, so it’s fantastic to have them bring their experience and creativity to the STV Studios Entertainment team. Andy and James join at a very exciting time for STV Studios, with homegrown formats like Bridge of Lies becoming international success stories. I’m looking forward to working with them to generate more brilliant ideas with the potential to grow into hit shows across the globe. Blockquote close

Gary Chippington Creative Director of Entertainment, STV Studios

Blockquote open I’m thrilled to be joining STV Studios. I look forward to building on the incredible success of Bridge of Lies, and I can’t wait to start working with Gary and James to find the entertainment hits of tomorrow. Blockquote close

Andy Sockanathan

Blockquote open I'm delighted to be joining STV Studios at a really exciting time for the company. I can't wait to be part of the team charged with adding more brilliant shows to their already wonderful slate. Blockquote close

James Smales

Media Contact

Stephen Innes – stephen.innes@stv.tv