Oppenheimer is joining the company in London as a creative executive on the international creative development team, reporting to Jay Hunt, creative director, Europe, the former Channel programming boss who joined in January. He will work with Hunt to source programming internationally.
It comes hot on the heels of Apple’s first global order; last month it gave a 10-episode straight-to-series order to an English adaptation of the popular French short-form series Calls, which will be co-produced by Canal+.
Oppenheimer was most recently Acting Head of BBC Films, having spent 19 years at the British public broadcaster. He left in December, having spent time before the acting head role as Christine Langan’s number two at the division. He was an executive producer on Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake, as well as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, On Chesil Beach, Testament of Youth and Louis Theroux’s My Scientology. He also steered directorial debuts from Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
In 2014, Oppenheimer received a News & Documentary Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Nature Programming category for his contributions to One Life, a BBC Films documentary narrated by Daniel Craig.
Deadline understands that creative director, Europe, Hunt, who’s on the international creative development team overseen by content chiefs Jamie Erlicht, Zack Van Amberg and head of international development Morgan Wandell, is on the verge of announcing her first commissions. She has spent the last six months meeting top tier producers in the UK, telling them that she is looking for big ideas with A-list talent that will appeal to a global audience.
The move will be a boon for both the scripted and feature doc community in the UK and in Europe, particularly those with a film background. Former Endemol Shine chief Tim Hincks, who now runs BBC Studios-backed Expectation Entertainment, said earlier this year that Apple’s international moves were significant for producers outside of the U.S.
It comes as Apple aggressively gears up its initial programming slate. In the last month, it has partnered with stars including Oprah Winfrey, Sesame Workshop and The Big Sick writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon.