BBC appoints editors for BBC One, Two & Four following commissioning overhaul

LR: Syeda Irtizaali & Jo Smith

The BBC in the UK has promoted two execs as portfolio editors for its flagship channels, following the “radical” overhaul of the public broadcaster’s commissioning team that was revealed late last year.

The revamp, which handed more commissioning power to streamer iPlayer, saw channel controller roles being replaced with genre-focused execs able to order programming without the need for a ‘second tick’ from a channel.

Portfolio additions

Former Monkey and Planet 24 producer Syeda Irtizaali, who joined the broadcaster as commissioning editor for entertainment in February 2020, has now been appointed portfolio editor for BBC One, while BBC Three executive editor Jo Smith has taken on the remit for BBC Two and Four.

Charlotte Moore

The duo will work across editorial strategy and priorities for the channels, collaborating with the genre directors to commission programming whilst supporting schedule requirements.

Irtizaali and Smith start 12 April and will report directly to Dan McGolpin, director of BBC iPlayer and Channels, who will bring together all of the programming and curation activity across the streamer and its sibling linear channels.

McGolpin said the duo would “ensure that BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four continue to progress as modern, relevant and much-loved channels” and added that the new team would be able to “move quickly as viewing habits change…”

Senior team

The new-look structure was introduced by the BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore and saw former BBC Two controller Patrick Holland becoming director of factual and Shane Allen continuing to head up comedy.

Kate Phillips continues to focus on entertainment, having been in recent interim charge of BBC One over the past six months, while Piers Wenger will continue to lead on drama and Rose Garnett leads on film.

All became directors of their respective genres following the overhaul, reporting into Moore. BBC Three, which is returning as a linear network, continues to be led by controller Fiona Campbell.

Tim Davie

The BBC restructure to focus on streaming followed similar moves from an array of other media giants over recent months, including US studios such as Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal, but also UK rivals ITV and Channel 4.

BBC to up non-London spend by $975m

In related news, the BBC has also provided more details on its plans to move staff outside of London as it attempts to expand the reach of its services.

Tim Davie, the former BBC Studios CEO who became director general at the pubcaster last year, told employees today that around 400 jobs would be moved outside of the UK capital as part of the strategy.

Many of the changes will affect the broadcaster’s news teams, but the BBC also plans to create 600 new positions outside of London and will up its TV spend target outside of the capital from 50% to 60% by 2028.

This is designed to support a broader push to increase TV commissioning made away from London, with spend away from the capital increasing by £700m ($975m) over the next six years.

Two new long-running dramas that explore life outside of London – one in the north of the country and one in either Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – are also planned as part of the strategy to re-engage viewers.

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