The BBC has named Netflix exec Lindsay Salt as its new director of drama.
Salt joins following three years at Netflix, where she was part of the streamer’s first UK scripted team and helped to establish its slate with Anne Mensah.
Her commissions included Baby Reindeer, One Day, The F*** it Bucket, Palomino and Half Bad. She also worked across shows including Heartstopper and The Crown’s fifth season.
Salt landed at Netflix after leaving Sky in 2019, as revealed by TBI. During her time at the pay TV operator, she worked as head of development with fellow Sky alum Mensah on shows for Sky One and Sky Atlantic, whose output ranges from Sister Pictures’ Chernobyl, Kudos’ Tin Star, Archery Pictures’ Riviera and Neal Street and Vertigo’s Britannia.
Prior to that, Salt spent eight years at The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures, working in development and production on shows including Strike Back (Sky One/Cinemax) and Wallander (BBC One/BBC America). She began her career at Talkback Thames.
Salt will report directly to Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s chief content officer, and will lead the BBC drama commissioning team. She starts her new role in the Autumn, with Ben Irving remaining as acting director in the interim.
The role, one of the most important in the UK scripted industry, was made vacant earlier this year when former drama chief Piers Wenger revealed he was joining Euphoria producer A24, along with the BBC’s director of films, Rose Garnett.
Wenger, who started his A24 role in May, had been behind a slew of hits during his time with the BBC including This Is Going To Hurt, A Very British Scandal, I May Destroy You and Normal People, following his move from C4 in 2016.
The process to find his replacement started several months back, with Mensah and Irving among those initially tipped for the position. Salt’s arrival comes amid intense budgetary and political pressures for the BBC, as well as increasing competition from the streamers.
Despite this, the broadcaster remains the major scripted commissioner in the country, ordering dramas such as Call Of Duty, Gentleman Jack, Vigil and Bodyguard.
Salt’s exit from Netflix UK, meanwhile, is the second in as many months for the streamer, with Chris Sussman recently stepping down from his role as director of UK scripted. BBC exec Mona Qureshi subsequently joined the SVOD.
Moore said: “Lindsay’s appointment heralds an exciting new era for BBC Drama. She has been responsible for an impressive breadth of shows and her track record as a commissioner underlines her passion for creating big hits and developing new and diverse voices.
“She’s an inspiring creative leader with a sophisticated understanding of British audience tastes which makes her perfectly placed to lead the genre into the future with work that will continue to push the boundaries and disrupt the mainstream. BBC Drama is in outstanding form and she has ambitious plans to evolve the creative strategy and build her own distinctive slate that is unique to the BBC and feels especially relevant to audiences across the UK in a fiercely competitive global landscape.”
Salt added: “My time at Netflix under the generous and visionary leadership of Anne Mensah has been a total joy. However, the opportunity to join the BBC was too special to ignore. Its Drama programming is revered around the globe and I can’t wait to get started with the world class team, who empower talent and producers to create iconic shows that stand the test of time. What a privilege to build upon that legacy and find and nurture the storytelling that’ll lead us into the next pivotal phase of the BBC.”