Peter Fincham, chief executive of TalkBack Thames, has announced he is to leave the independent production company at the end of his contract in June, saying he wants to spend time out of the industry.
Fincham joined TalkBack in 1985, four years after it was set up by comedy double act Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. In 2000 it was sold to Pearson TV – now FremantleMedia – for £62 million. Fincham remained managing director and in 2003 took over as chief executive of FremantleMedia’s UK production arm, later bringing together the operating divisions of TalkBack and Thames production companies to form TalkBack Thames.
After 20 years at the organisation, overseeing programming such as Smack the Pony, Da Ali G Show, I’m Alan Partridge and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, he said: “It is an entirely personal decision. When TalkBack was sold in 2000 I committed to five years and I am delighted to have seen that through.
“FremantleMedia’s acquisition has been an outstanding example of how a small indie can join a large one with benefits to both parties. For myself, though, I need a break and a change. I have no plans for the future. I am going to take some time off and look at the options.”
His departure leaves open one of the most influential posts in the independent production sector. No successor has yet been appointed.
Tony Cohen, FreemantleMedia’s chief executive, said Fincham would be greatly missed. He added: “He is a tremendous creative leader and has overseen both the success of TalkBack for many years and its effective integration with Thames since 2003.
“The range of programming he has been responsible for is extraordinary – from drama, entertainment, factual and comedy. It is an impressive achievement and unique for an independent producer in British television.”