Kate Phillips confirmed BBC's new factual commissioning structure

Jack Bootle becomes Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual; Catherine Catton becomes Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Events; Clare Sillery leads on an expanded documentaries slate; and Suzy Klein continues as Head of Commissioning, Arts and Classical Music.

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Kate Phillips, BBC Director of Unscripted, has announced the new factual commissioning team structure. Three months after her appointment, Phillips now has her full team of Heads of Commissioning in place. Jack Bootle becomes Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual; Catherine Catton becomes Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment, and Events; Clare Sillery leads on an expanded documentaries slate; and Suzy Klein continues as Head of Commissioning, Arts and Classical Music.

“I’m delighted that the full senior team in Unscripted Content is now in place. This newly refocused structure reinforces our commitment to the specialisms and creates further opportunities for talent on and off the screen. It puts us in the very best position for our teams of highly talented commissioners to deliver world-class, diverse content for our audiences across the UK,” Kate Phillips said.

The new Factual commissioning team structure is as follows:

• Jack Bootle becomes Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual. In his new role, Jack will provide leadership across the specialisms - science, natural history, history, and religion. Jack was previously Head of Commissioning, Science & Natural History, and his department has enjoyed massive success with programs such as “The Green Planet,” “AIDS: The Unheard Tapes,” “DNA Family Secrets,” and “Universe.”

Daisy Scalchi and Simon Young join Jack’s team, Daisy Scalchi as the Head of Religion & Ethics, and Simon as the Head of History. Daisy has been responsible for highly regarded programs such as “Two Daughters,” “Stacey Dooley: Inside The Convent,” “A Believer’s Guide To…,” and the “Faith & Hope” seasons, and dedicated BBC iPlayer rail, while Simon oversaw the award-winning “9/11: Inside The President’s War Room,” as well as acclaimed shows such as “Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution,” “Gazza,” and “Rise Of The Nazis.”

In addition, Tom Coveney will become Head of Science, and Sreya Biswas will become Head of Natural History. Tom has been responsible for programs including the acclaimed “Jay Blades: Learning To Read at 51,” “Dinosaurs: The Final Day” with David Attenborough, and “Seven Days On Mars” with Brian Cox. Sreya has overseen shows including the award-winning “David Harewood: Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour?,” “Our Changing Planet,” and “Lion: Rise & Fall Of The Marsh Pride.” Each will lead on commissioning for their respective genre area, in consultation with Jack Bootle and under the wider Unscripted commissioning strategy. Daisy Scalchi will also work closely with Radio, News, and the Nations colleagues to ensure a joined-up approach to Religion and Ethics content across the BBC.

• Catherine Catton becomes Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment & Events. She will take on responsibility for the BBC’s Events content previously overseen by Carla-Maria Lawson, from the recent Platinum Jubilee coverage to Trooping the color and Remembrance Week, as well as continuing to lead on the department’s highly successful Fact Ent slate with shows including “Race Across The World,” “The Great British Sewing Bee,” and “The Rap Game UK.” In addition, Clare Mottershead is appointed Lead Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment & Events.

• Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, takes on an expanded docs slate. Following on from the success of limited series including Bafta Award-winning “Uprising” and “Freddie Flintoff’s Field Of Dreams,” returning brands including “Ambulance,” “Forensics,” and “Murder 24/7,” and single films such as “The Real Mo Farah,” Clare will take on responsibility for all single docs previously on the Factual Entertainment slate.

• Suzy Klein continues as Head of Commissioning, Arts and Classical Music, where she and her team are currently overseeing a rich and varied Proms season for 2022, alongside recent highlights including Lucy Kirkwood’s Maryland, Joe Lycett: Summer Exhibitionist, and Lenny Henry’s Caribbean Britain. Jack, Catherine, Clare, and Suzy will work alongside the other Heads of Kate’s team: Rob Unsworth, Head of Daytime & Early Peak, and Kalpna Patel Knight, Head of Commissioning, Entertainment.

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