ABC’s head of specialist Aidan Laverty passes away, less than three weeks after leaving role

The ABC’s head of specialist, Aidan Laverty, has died, less than three weeks after leaving his role to seek treatment overseas for an unexpected and rare medical condition.

In a statement, the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, and director of entertainment and specialist, Michael Carrington, said “the fact that he is no longer with us is hard to bear”.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague and friend,” they said.

“The rapid and devastating decline of his health has been sudden and shocking to us all at the ABC, especially for those who worked closely with him in our specialist and science teams.

“Aidan was an inspiring and endlessly energetic content maker and manager, who played a substantial role in reinvigorating our content and strategy.”

Laverty joined the ABC in 2017 as executive producer of Catalyst. A year later, he was named manager of the science unit, across radio, TV and digital, and, last October, became head of specialist, joining the ABC’s entertainment and specialist executive team. Recently, his remit was expanded to include leading the factual and education team, overseeing that content across a number of platforms.

At the public broadcaster, he was part of creating shows like Gut Revolution, Feeding Australia, The Great Australian Bee Keeping Challenge, Staying Younger for Longer and Stargazing: Moon and Beyond, which was last year’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing.   

He joined the ABC after a year and a half on his own business, Laverty Media, and previously spent more than 20 years at the BBC, starting as a broadcast journalist and becoming a commissioning editor. In those BBC roles, he launched Make It Digital, The Truth About, Natural Wonders, The Secrets of Quantum Physics, Girls Can Code, The Secret Life of the Cat, Science Under Attack and Eat Fast and Live Longer. He was editor of science program Horizon, and developed the long-running series, Trust Me I’m a Doctor.

He achieved both a bachelors and masters degree at Cambridge University.

“Aidan was an outstanding storyteller, a great media executive and a delight to know,” Anderson and Carrington continued.

“He was highly regarded, liked and respected by all who worked with him. 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.”

The pair said their “thoughts and sincere condolences are with his wife Claudia and their two young children”, and added: “He will be dearly missed by those who knew and worked with him at the ABC and across the wider media industry, here and overseas. We will miss his company, his creativity and his passion for public broadcasting.”


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