Following his appointment as Director of BBC Comedy, Jon Petrie has announced his new commissioning team which will be in place by the end of January 2022.
Emma Lawson (Cuckoo, Trying) and Ben Caudell (Famalam, Mandy) join as Commissioning Editors, alongside Seb Barwell (Stath Lets Flats, Bloods) who joins temporarily. Additionally, Navi Lamba joins the team in a newly appointed role as Head of Comedy Talent Development. The new appointments alongside Commissioning Editor Gregor Sharp (Starstruck, Ghosts), Head of Comedy Tanya Qureshi (I May Destroy You, Dead Pixels) and Assistant Commissioner in the North Hannah Rose, make up the core members of the Comedy commissioning team.
Petrie says: “We have managed to assemble an incredibly experienced, multi-talented team that have years of experience working in award winning Comedy. I believe we are well equipped to deal with the new challenges our industry faces, and we will continue to make BBC Comedy the unrivalled home of new and established talent in the UK.
“I have also created a new Head of Comedy Talent Development role. It’s vital that we help support new talent on their development journey to creating longform content and I’m especially keen that we have people in our team that are just as familiar with finding new talent through social media, as they are through the more traditional paths.
“I’m confident that this team makes a clear statement we are the greatest place for established talent to bring their ideas and know that they will be handled with care, whilst new talent will know that we have the experience to support them with their future careers in comedy.”
Tanya Qureshi – Head of BBC Comedy
Tanya started her career in commissioning at UKTV, primarily focused on scripted comedy across Dave and Gold. She acted as executive producer on sitcoms Undercover, The Rebel, Henry IX and all series of the critically acclaimed Crackanory. She went on to join Channel 4 as Commissioning Executive working across a varied development slate and was the Commissioner on both the second series of The Windsors and Flowers. Prior to joining the BBC, she was Head of Comedy at the Bafta award-winning production company Various Artists where she served as Associate Producer on Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You and produced series two of Dead Pixels. In March Tanya joined the BBC as the Head of Comedy in the commissioning team.
Emma Lawson – Commissioning Editor
Originating from County Durham, with over 20 years’ experience in scripted television, Emma worked her way through the ranks on hours of scripted comedy with major indies including Objective (Peep Show, Star Stories), Fremantle (Count Arthur Strong) and Roughcut TV where she stayed for 10 years working with Ash Atalla on projects including five series of Cuckoo (BBC Three) and People Just Do Nothing (BBC Three). Most recently, Emma produced Apple TV+ first scripted comedy, Trying, which led onto an in-house commissioning role working under Jay Hunt. She left Apple in February to produce a sitcom she’d developed around a personal experience for Sky One. Emma is a highly passionate regional development and working-class inclusion advocate – she founded the North East Comedy Hot House as a way to cultivate, develop and connect regional comedy talent with broadcast opportunities.
Ben Caudell – Commissioning Editor
Ben has most recently been Executive Producer on two series of Mandy (BBC Two), and Famalam (BBC Three). He’s also been the executive producer of several episodes of Rhys Thomas’ A Year in the Life of a Year (BBC Two) and The Kemps: All True (BBC Two), and Gbemisola Ikemelo’s Bafta-winning short Brain in Gear (BBC Two). Before that he worked for Channel 4, Objective Productions, Zeppotron and TV Quick magazine. He lives in London and has no interests.
Gregor Sharp – Commissioning Editor
Gregor has worked as a writer, producer and executive producer for the BBC and in the independent sector. Based in Glasgow. He acts as executive producer on a range of titles including Starstruck, Inside No. 9 and Ghosts, and works across comedy from the Nations.
Seb Barwell – Acting Commissioning Editor (Nov ‘21-Apr ‘22)
Seb started his career producing radio comedy for Angle Eye Media, working with rising talent such as Miranda Hart and Tim Key, before moving into TV with innovative sketch show Cowards (BBC Four) and acclaimed biopic Hattie (BBC Four), starring Ruth Jones. Since moving to Roughcut TV in 2012, he has developed and produced comedies including I Live With Models (Comedy Central), new paramedic comedy Bloods (Sky1) starring Samson Kayo and Jane Horrocks and all three series of Jamie Demetriou’s triple BAFTA-winning Stath Lets Flats(C4).
Hannah Rose – Assistant Commissioner, North England
Hannah Rose has developed and produced scripted and entertainment titles across the comedy portfolio at the BBC, working with established names such as Sofie Hagen as well as nurturing newer voices such as Jacob Hawley and Alison Spittle for BBC Sounds. Hannah’s focus is to shine a light on talent in the North on and off screen.
Navi Lamba – Head of Comedy Talent Development
Navi Lamba has worked as a commissioner at Channel 4 with a focus on E4 and Entertainment, while there she led the curation of the teen strand and worked with Head of Ents Phil Harris to devise social pilots – commissioning multi-platform shows across scripted and unscripted. Navi joined E4 in 2020 from BBC Three where she commissioned short-form formats for the channel before becoming head of social where she led on campaigns for key programmes like Fleabag, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Glow Up. Prior to her time at the BBC, she was a senior social media producer for VICE Media and worked on a range of in-house productions across VICE News to Munchies.
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