Hilary Bell (television producer)

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Hilary Bell (20 August 1965 – 2010) was a pioneer of British reality television whose commissions for Channel 4 include Faking It and Wife Swap.

Early life and education[edit]

Hilary Bell was born in Fareham, Hampshire. She was educated at Rookesbury Park School, at Petworth and at Portsmouth High School for Girls. She then attended Trinity College, Cambridge, reading law.[citation needed]


Bell worked as a researcher at the BBC and was involved in broadcast journalism such as the undercover investigation into the Hoover free flights promotion in 1992.[1] She went on to work with Peter Dale on the BAFTA-nominated series The System in 1996, contributing greatly to the success of the series.[citation needed] Bell also worked as a director on Vets in Practice.[2]

In 1999, she was appointed as deputy commissioning editor for documentaries by Channel 4.[3] In this position and then as commissioning editor, she worked with series such as Wife Swap,[4] Faking It[5][6] and Cutting Edge[7] and single programmes such as the 2001 Brian's Story.[8]


  1. ^ Chan, Angela (13 May 2004). "Hoover's free flights fiasco recalled". BBC. 
  2. ^ "Vets in Practice - 22 July 1998". Genome. BBC. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "C4 rings changes with Bell". Broadcast Now (subscription required). 6 August 1999. 
  4. ^ Hill, Annette (2005). Reality TV: Audiences and Popular Factual Television. London / New York: Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 9780203337158. 
  5. ^ "BBC eyes C4's Bell for doc job". Broadcast Now (Subscription required). 7 March 2003. 
  6. ^ "Commissioner's Q&A: Hilary Bell". Broadcast Now (Subscription required). 7 April 2004. 
  7. ^ Deans, Jason (17 June 2002). "Channel 4 backs producer in fake TV row". The Guardian. 
  8. ^ Quinn, James, ed. (2015). Adventures in the Lives of Others: Ethical Dilemmas in Factual Filmmaking. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 9780857726520. 

External links[edit]