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BBC Entertainment confirms Commissioning Team

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Following her appointment as Head of Entertainment, Kalpna Patel-Knight has today (28 September 2022) confirmed that three highly talented and experienced Executives will be joining the Entertainment team at the BBC.

BBC Entertainment plays a critical role at the BBC, offering a wide range of much loved programmes which offer shared viewing experiences that appeal to mass audiences across all genders and generations including Strictly Come Dancing, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, The Apprentice, Top Gear, The Hit List, The Graham Norton Show, Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel and MasterChef, as well as commissioning entertainment events which bring the whole nation together such as Eurovision, Comic Relief and Children In Need.

Clodagh O’Donoghue will be joining the BBC Entertainment Commissioning team in a permanent capacity from January 2023 whilst Saul Fearnley and Suzanne McManus will join on a fixed term basis. All three Commissioning Editors will ensure that the BBC continues to work with a wide range of suppliers, particularly in the Nations and Regions and will be commissioning programmes that truly reflect all of the UK. They will also support creativity and diversity of ideas plus champion diversity both on and off-air.

In addition to these three new appointments, Rachel Ashdown has been appointed Lead Commissioner for the BBC’s delivery of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 and will focus solely on that.

Kalpna Patel-Knight, Head of Entertainment at the BBC says: “I’m thrilled that this trio of fantastic Entertainment showrunners, with a wealth of experience on all major channels and SVoDs, are joining the BBC Entertainment commissioning team. Clodagh, Saul and Suzanne are not only at the top of their game, but their zest and energy for all things Entertainment brings an extra layer of excitement too and I know they will make their own unique mark on our growing slate.”

Clodagh O’Donoghue

Clodagh joins the BBC Entertainment Commissioning team with a wealth of experience under her belt, having produced top rated shows for over 20 years. Titles she has worked on include Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice UK. Clodagh has most recently been at Lifted Entertainment as Executive Producer on Dancing on Ice.

Clodagh O’Donoghue said: “Watching entertainment shows as a kid sparked my passion for television and led me to work on loads of incredible shows over the last 20 plus years. I’m really excited to return to the BBC and join the brilliant team in this new era with Kalpna at the helm.”

Clodagh will join the BBC in early 2023.

Saul Fearnley

After starting his career in television at ITV Daytime on This Morning and Loose Women, Saul moved into entertainment as a Producer on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief and Strictly Come Dancing. He went on to Executive Produce BAFTA winning series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway for ITV, before moving on to Exec Produce Netflix shows Too Hot To Handle, Dated & Related and Dance 100.

Saul Fearnley said: “I have been lucky enough to work on some of the biggest and best entertainment shows in the UK, and I’m incredibly excited to be starting a new chapter in my career with Kalpna and the team at the BBC. I’m so passionate about entertainment television and cannot wait to get stuck in!”

Saul joins the BBC in October 2022 until Autumn 2023.

Suzanne McManus

Suzanne originally joined BBC Entertainment Commissioning after holding a channel executive role in the BBC Three launch team. Prior to that, she was Head of Programmes at BBC GLR.

As Commissioning Editor, Suzanne previously oversaw shows such as the BAFTAs, Mock The Week, The Graham Norton Show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and The Revolution Will Be Televised. She has also worked with Comic Relief, managing all BBC-wide elements of synchronicity between the two organisations. Suzanne rejoins the Entertainment Commissioning team for four months, after having spent the last couple of years living in Switzerland.

Suzanne McManus says: “It’s a wonderful experience to rejoin Kalpna and the Entertainment Commissioning Team. Walking back through the doors of New Broadcasting House, the muscle-memory kicked in and I can’t wait to re-engage with the current, exciting entertainment slate.

Suzanne joins the BBC in September 2022 until early 2023.

Today’s appointments confirms the full BBC Entertainment Commissioning team which is as follows:

Kalpna Patel-Knight, Head of Entertainment
Jo Wallace – Senior Commissioning Editor
Ruby Kuraishe – Commissioning Editor
Katie Taylor – Commissioning Editor
Pinki Chambers – Commissioning Editor
Sarah Clay – Commissioning Editor
Clodagh O’Donoghue – Commissioning Editor
Saul Fearnley – Commissioning Editor (until Autumn 2023)
Suzanne McManus – Commissioning Editor (until early 2023)
Rachel Ashdown – Commissioning Lead, Eurovision 2023
Neil McCallum – Commissioning Editor, Nations & Regions lead
Jamie Dodds – Digital Commissioning Executive