Vale Aidan Laverty, esteemed factual filmmaker
Aidan Laverty, the ABC’s head of specialist content until he was forced to quit three weeks ago due to ill health, died on Tuesday.
ABC managing director David Anderson said today: “Aidan was an inspiring and endlessly energetic content maker and manager who played a substantial role in reinvigorating our content and strategy.
“Aidan was an outstanding storyteller, a great media executive and a delight to know. He was highly regarded, liked and respected by all who worked with him.”
The UK-born exec joined the ABC in 2017 as executive producer of Catalyst, was appointed manager science in 2018 and promoted to head of specialist last October, overseeing factual and specialist content across multiple platforms.
After he departed the ABC to seek further treatment overseas for an unexpected and rare medical condition, former Fremantle director of content Jennifer Collins was named acting head of specialist.
Collins worked for the ABC from 1990 to 2013 in various roles including head of factual, head of entertainment and head of development.
Anderson said: “When you spoke with Aidan, you couldn’t help but get caught up in his overall positivity and enthusiasm, whether it be about the compelling and engaging content he was producing, the team working with him, his family or living in Australia.
“He was a great source of innovation, creativity and common sense at the ABC, and an endless fount of wisdom and wonderfully curious turns of phrase.”
Before the ABC he was a specialist factual commissioner at the BBC, launching The Truth About… and the Make it Digital Season. As editor of Horizon, he was responsible for The Secret Life of the Cat and Eat Fast and Live Longer, which spawned the 5:2 diet.
He also developed Trust me I’m a Doctor and took former Top Gear co-presenter James May to the edge of space for James May on the Moon.
Earlier in his career he was a senior journalist for the BBC, including serving as an output editor of Newsnight and covering the events after 9/11 for the BBC’s Panorama.
Survivors include his wife Claudia and two young children.