BBC appoints C4 & Apple TV+ alums to new comedy commissioning team

Jon Petrie

BBC comedy chief Jon Petrie has unveiled his new-look commissioning team, appointing former Apple TV+ and Channel 4 execs, while also creating a head of comedy talent development role.

Emma Lawson (Cuckoo, Trying) and Ben Caudell (Famalam, Mandy) are joining as commissioning editors at the UK pubcaster, while Seb Barwell (Stath Lets Flats, Bloods) is acting commissioning editor until April next year.

Emma Lawson

The trio are joined by Navi Lamba, who will oversee comedy talent development, and will work alongside fellow commissioning editor Gregor Sharp (Starstruck), head of comedy Tanya Qureshi (I May Destroy You) and assistant commissioner in the North, Hannah Rose.

Lawson has previously worked at Peep Show prodco Objective and Roughcut TV, where she stayed for a decade working with Ash Atalla on projects including five seasons of BBC Three shows Cuckoo and People Just Do Nothing.

She most recently produced Trying, the first scripted comedy for Apple TV+, which led onto an in-house commissioning role working under regional chief Jay Hunt. She left Apple in February to produce a sitcom for Sky One.

Caudell was most recently executive producer on Mandy for BBC Two and Famalam for BBC Three. He previously worked for Channel 4, Objective Productions, Zeppotron and TV Quick magazine.

Barwell worked for companies including Roughcut TV and has developed and produced comedies including I Live With Models for Comedy Central, while Lamba was a commissioner at Channel 4 with a focus on E4 and entertainment. She had previously worked for BBC Three and before that had stints at Vice Media.

Ben Caudell

Petrie, who joined the BBC from Netflix-backed prodco Broke and Bones in July, replaced Shane Allen after he revealed he would be returning to production.

Petrie said the additions would ensure the division is “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.”

He added: “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 long-form 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.”

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