Lucy Murphy
People Moves

How I did it – Lucy Murphy

After an addiction to The Secret Garden TV series got her expelled from the junior version of the Girl Guides for skipping too many sessions, Lucy Murphy’s TV priorities were clear. Now the head of kids content at Sky, Murphy's excited for the future as the industry evolves.
February 1, 2016

The gig Head of kids content at European pay-TV giant Sky, overseeing the children’s section of the UK-based satcaster’s on-demand library (which recently grew to 4,000 episodes) and building Sky’s impending dedicated kids app.

TV roots Growing up in a big family in the southeast suburbs of London, Murphy’s childhood TV diet consisted of Saturday morning shows such as The Banana Splits, The Flintstones and Mr. Bean, although she preferred serialized dramas like Catweazle and The Tomorrow People. As a tween, an interest in TV production and kids entertainment was born.

“I still have a letter from the BBC replying to one I wrote at about 11 years old, asking what I would need if I wanted to be a prop buyer,” says Murphy. “And in my late teens and early 20s, I volunteered on plays in a big children’s hospital. We did a weekly drama where all the parts were played by the kids. I loved working out how to connect with them.”

Once at the University of East Anglia in Norwich studying the history of art and architecture, Murphy briefly entertained becoming an archaeologist. “I did some field work for the British Archaeological Institute in Turkey, but it wasn’t quite as glamorous as I imagined it,” she says. “Indiana Jones has a lot to answer for.”

Getting back to her true passion, Murphy landed a floating temp job at London Weekend Television in the late ’80s that jump-started her career.

After learning the ropes as a temp, she took a sales and marketing position at her uncle Clive Juster‘s animation company, King Rollo Films (Poppy Cat, Humf). Murphy credits Juster as an early inspiration.

“He had a home studio, and I used to sit with him as a kid while he edited Play School for the BBC. He let me splice tape and play with the sound effects,” she says. “I worked with him for 10 years at Rollo and he taught me an enormous amount—especially that the little things matter. I’ve always carried this with me.”

Career arc After Rollo, Murphy shifted her focus from sales to the creative side of the business, and worked for a number of companies including Novel Entertainment, Aardman Animations, Magic Light Pictures, Acamar Films and online kids platform Azoomee before taking her current position at Sky.

She says the biggest career challenge she’s faced was stepping away from work when she had her own children.

“I was very conflicted about whether or not a job that involved long hours and international travel could work with raising very young children. I soon realized it is possible to do both, and my kids are very interested in what I do.”

Murphy today is inspired by the kids audience as a whole. “Their creativity, honesty and humor is so inspirational,” she says.

Recognition Looking at her career now, Murphy says her trajectory has been very organic. “I’m not a big believer in career-defining moments,” she says. “A career is built with many small moments and hours of effort and knowledge. The trick is to recognize those moments along the way and make the most of them. And always remember the people and connections you make.”

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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