Creative Excellence During Covid – The Surgeon’s Cut (Netflix)

The Surgeon’s Cut  explores the characteristics it takes to become one of the world’s leading surgeons. Each episode takes one surgeon and sees them in action at the operating table and the creative process behind a medical operation.  The surgeons’ personal struggles are also explored, from racism, to sexism and their own health struggles. 

This 4-part series was the first Netflix commission for BBC Studios back in 2019.  Fast forward to 2020 and the team found themselves having to produce the complex series with the added challenge of Covid restrictions.  

In this session, we shall meet the two executive producers, James Van Der Pool and Andrew Cohen, and three directors, James Newton, Sophie Robinson, and Stephen Cooter. The panel will reveal how the series was made, from conception, commission, to production. The latter stages of the production process – post and some follow-up shoot days – occurred during the pandemic.

This session is an opportunity to learn how the team oversaw postproduction as a Netflix Premium Ultra HD commission.  


James Van der Pool, Executive Producer, BBC Studios Science Unit. James has produced popular science (Horizon) to medical (Your Life In Their Hands) to cosmology (Wonders of the Universe), and history, including Black & British: A Forgotten History and the BAFTA winning Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners.

Andrew Cohen is Head of BBC Studios' Science Unit, ex Editor of Horizon and multi-award winning commissioner and executive producer. He is also the co-author of five best-selling science books.

James Newton directed Saving Life Before Birth. James is a double BAFTA award winning director. 

Sophie Robinson directed Living Donor. Her latest feature documentary, Emmy nominated My Beautiful Brain was executive produced by David Lynch.

Stephen Cooter directed Heart & Soul. Stephen is a Grierson award winning in-house at the BBC and has worked extensively on specialist factual programming including Horizon and with Brian Cox.

This session will be chaired by Katherine Parsons, Executive Producer/Media Consultant/Board Trustee.


This event is supported by the ScreenSkills Television Skills Fund which invests in training for the freelance television workforce thanks to contributions from the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, and Channel 5.

It is part of a ScreenSkills programme to support freelancers to upskill and stay connected, helping keep the industry resilient in these difficult times.

This session will take place online via Zoom. Click ‘get ticket’ to reserve your place: you must login or register before you are able to get a ticket for this event. A booking confirmation with a joining link to the session will be sent to you via email.

If you are no longer able to use your ticket, we ask you to please contact  so that we can release your place. Our sessions are often oversubscribed, so we’d like to give other freelancers the opportunity to fill available spots. Thank you for your consideration.



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