12 JUL 2022

Kalpna Patel-Knight is the new Head of Entertainment at BBC

The BBC announced the appointment of Kalpna Patel-Knight as its new Head of Entertainment. Meanwhile, BBC Studios published a record set of results for the year 2021/22.


Kalpna Patel-Knight


The BBC announced the appointment of Kalpna Patel-Knight as its new Head of Entertainment. The executive will take on the newly created role in September, following an internal restructure of the company’s senior leadership team, which saw the recent closure of the Director of Entertainment role. Patel-Knight has been with the BBC for five years, acting as Commissioning Editor on big-budget series including “Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel,” “Blankety Blank” and “Wim Hof’s Freeze the Fear.” She is also a former Head of Entertainment at UK indie Possessed, and has executive produced hit shows such as “Celebs Go Dating.”

The executive will now work closely with Kate Phillips, who recently became Unscripted Director, to lead the direction of BBC Entertainment, and will be responsible for commissioning entertainment output on all channels and BBC iPlayer. She will oversee more than 500 hours of original programming a year. “With her proven track record in production and commissioning, her vision for the future, and her love of entertainment, Kalpna will be a great leader and I look forward to working with her alongside the other heads in unscripted,”  Phillips said. “I’m excited to work with an incredible team, top-class talent, and suppliers to bring even more sparkle and joy to BBC audiences,”  Patel-Knight added.

Meanwhile, BBC Studios, the BBC’s principal commercial subsidiary, published a record set of results which, according to the company, positions the business well for future growth, as part of a summary of its strategic and financial performance for the year 2021/22. Specifically, overall sales were £1.630 million, a jump of 30% thanks to a very healthy year for production and UKTV. Profit (EBITDA) was up 50% year-on-year to £226 million, the first time the business has exceeded £200 million, with a £135 million cash dividend going back to the BBC.

“Last year was stellar for BBC Studios, thanks to continued strong demand for our brands like ‘Strictly/Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Time,’ ‘Bluey,’ and the ‘Planet’ series. Our creative and financial success is clear for all to see and I am so proud of our teams across the world who worked so hard to achieve this in extremely challenging conditions. With new freedom to invest, and a new commercial board, now is the time for the business to step up a gear. Despite an uncertain economic climate, we’re hugely confident about the opportunities ahead: and while this investment in future growth might impact on our profits over the short term, we know that we are building a business that can play a more significant role in the future of the BBC,”  said Tom Fussell, CEO of BBC Studios.

This performance was driven by a rise in production sales, which were up 56%, with a quarter of all new commissions from third parties. Content sales were strong at over £400 million, thanks to key brands like “Doctor Who” and “Top Gear”; unscripted landmarks “The Universe” and “Green Planet”; alongside hits from our indie partners including “The North Water,” “This is Going To Hurt,” and “The Outlaws.”