BBC Entertainment confirms its new commissioning team

Clodagh O’Donoghue will join the group permanently starting January 2023, while Saul Fearnley and Suzanne McManus will join on a fixed term basis.

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BBC Entertainment recently welcome three new executives to its Entertainment team. The news was confirmed by the newly appointed, Head of Entertainment, Kalpna Patel-Knight. "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," Patel-Knight said. "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."

Among the new addition is Clodagh O’Donoghue, who 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. “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," Kalpna Patel-Knight, Head of Entertainment at the BBC said. "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.”

O’Donoghue joins the BBC Entertainment Commissioning after assisting with the production of  top rated shows for more than two decades. The titles she has worked on include "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The Voice UK," most recently working at Lifted Entertainment as Executive Producer on Dancing on Ice. The executive will join the BBC in early 2023.  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.”

Fearnley joins the BBC in October 2022 until Autumn 2023. 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!”

 McManus 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. Suzanne joins the BBC in September 2022 until early 2023. 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.“It’s a wonderful experience to rejoin Kalpna and the Entertainment Commissioning Team," McManus said. "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."