BBC Entertainment completes commissioning team with trio of hires

L-R: Clodagh O’Donoghue, Saul Fearnley & Suzanne McManus

BBC Entertainment has completed its commissioning team line-up with the appointment of Clodagh O’Donoghue, alongside temporary hires Saul Fearnley and Suzanne McManus.

O’Donoghue will be joining the BBC Entertainment Commissioning team in a permanent capacity from January 2023, whilst Saul Fearnley and Suzanne McManus will join on a fixed term basis. Fearnley will join in October 2022 and remain with the Kalpna Patel-Knight-led team until Autumn 2023, while McManus joins this month and will depart in early 2023.

Rachel Ashdown has also been appointed as lead commissioner for the BBC’s delivery of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 and will focus solely on that.

O’Donoghue has worked on titles including Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice UK, and most recently served as executive producer for Dancing On Ice at Lifted Entertainment. She commented: “Watching entertainment shows as a kid sparked my passion for television and led me to work on loads of incredible shows over the last 20 plus years. I’m really excited to return to the BBC and join the brilliant team in this new era with Kalpna at the helm.”

BBC Entertainment is behind titles including Strictly Come Dancing, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, The Apprentice, Top Gear, The Hit List and The Graham Norton Show and also commissions entertainment events such as Eurovision, Comic Relief and Children In Need.

Fearnley has previously served as a producer on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief and Strictly Come Dancing and executive produced I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway for ITV, before moving on to Netflix shows Too Hot To Handle, Dated & Related and Dance 100.

McManus originally joined BBC Entertainment commissioning after holding a channel executive role in the BBC Three launch team. Prior to that, she was head of programmes at BBC GLR. As commissioning editor, she previously oversaw shows such as the BAFTAs, Mock The Week, The Graham Norton Show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and The Revolution Will Be Televised.

Patel Knight was appointed as head of entertainment in July following a reshuffle of its senior unscripted commissioning ranks. She said: “I’m thrilled that this trio of fantastic entertainment showrunners, with a wealth of experience on all major channels and SVODs, are joining the BBC Entertainment commissioning team.

“Clodagh, Saul and Suzanne are not only at the top of their game, but their zest and energy for all things Entertainment brings an extra layer of excitement too and I know they will make their own unique mark on our growing slate.”

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