BBC appoints six new Assistant Commissioners in diversity drive

BBC appoints six new Assistant Commissioners in diversity drive

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Thursday, 5th February 2015

The BBC has recruited six new Assistant Commissioners from BAME backgrounds to help 'demystify' the corporation's commissioning process. 

By Tim Dickens 

The BBC has recruited six new Assistant Commissioners from BAME backgrounds to 'open up' the commissioning process as part of a wider diversity drive. 

The six people, who are mostly drawn from within the corporation, will take part in a year-long training and placement programme designed to "open doors" to new talent from diverse backgrounds.

The announcement comes two days after BBC Trust Chair Rona Fairhead was asked at a RTS event whether the corporation was "leading or following" other broadcasters on plans to widen diversity in the television industry. Channel 4 released its 360РDiversity Charter last month, and Sky announced ambitious plans last summer.

Charlotte Moore, BBC One Controller, said that she was excited about the "calibre, talent and creative range" of the assistant commissioners being announced today.

"Each one of them is going to be a vital part of our diversity plans going forward.  We've worked hard to create a training and placement programme with real value that will nurture and develop these 'Commissioners of the Future'", she said.

"I hope they will help demystify the commissioning process and we look forward to seeing their influence help shape how our commissioning teams work and the programming decisions they make."

The new commissioners will start in their new role in three weeks in six key departments, undertaking a mix of 'boot-camp' style training and so-called 'learning-while-doing' placements. 

Deena Saeed, Diversity Lead for BBC Television said:  "We can'´ wait for them to start...

"In 12 months, we want the outcome to have been a mix too- of opening up what we do, challenging how we do it and giving individuals a unique experience right at the centre of programme decision making. "¼/p>

Who are the Assistant Commissioners?

Factual: Fatima Salaria

Fatima Salaria is a Series Producer in BBC Current Affairs. She is currently finishing a documentary about young British women who travel to Syria. She has also run projects in Arts and Factual. Past series as producer and series producer include, Mixed Britannia with George Alagiah, History of Modern Britain with Andrew Marr, Dominic Sandbrook's The Seventies and Underworld Rich List.


Daytime: Adrian Padmore

Adrian has been a Series Producer for over 10 years making observational documentaries, features and formats. He has worked for all the major terrestrial channels from BBC1 through to Channel 5, with series producer credits including Holiday Hit Squad, Escape to the Country and Home Away from Home. Last year he also Series Produced one of Channel 5's top 10 programmes...Can't Pay We'll Take It Away. Adrian currently works as Series Producer making a primetime observational documentary series for Channel 5 about people struggling to survive at Christmas, such as the homeless and those spending the festive season alone- he'sbeen responsible for managing a large crew of 30 self-shooting PD's, AP, and researchers whilst filming 15 different characters in 15 different locations across the UK and also across the entire Christmas period.  

Comedy: Tilusha Ghelani

Tilusha  is a producer in BBC in-house comedy where she develops, script edits and produces in a wide variety of comedy genres including sitcoms, panel games, sketch, stand up and chat shows. Her productions include Just a Minute, Micky Flanagan's What Chance Change and Beauty of Britain for Radio 4 and latterly, the upcoming Paul Whitehouse series Nurse for BBC 2.


Entertainment: Sohail Shah

Sohail is a Series Producer, Development Executive and Showrunner with 15 years factual experience, and credits on all 5 terrestrial UK channels and numerous digital channels worldwide. Sohail has a background in features, entertainment archive, specialist factual formats, and children's. Experienced in factual entertnainment programming with a twist, he has shot, created and edited several prime time shows with both high profile celebrities, and members of the public including Attenborough's Saving Planet Earth, Glamour Girls, Fantasy Body, Mischief and Liquid Assets to name  a few. Alongside filming shows all over the world, Sohail is a successful Development Exec and has headed up development at ITV Studios, BBC and October Films, as well as consulting at companies including Objective, Talkback and Maverick.

BBC Children's: Alexandra McGrail

Alexandra is currently Business Manager for BBC Children's, working alongside the Controllers to provide support by helping to implement their vision for the channels as well as help to define and shape their strategy. This involves undertaking and scrutinising research, keeping abreast of audience behaviour and technological changes. She is also responsible for reporting the monitoring of diversity for on-screen talent in Children's. Alexandra joined the BBC in 2006 as a Production Secretary on a drama called The Innocence Project.  After this she was a freelancer working in production for BBC & ITV, then joining BBC Children's in the Channel Management team before moving to BBC Sport for a year, then returning to Children's as Channel Manager and then Business Manager. 

BBC TWO and BBC FOUR: Jay Davidson

Jay Davidson is an award-winning marketing executive currently working in BBC News, who began her career in the music industry at Kiss Radio, global hip hop label Def Jam and later, indie hop hop label Rawkus. Her BBC career began as Launch Manager and later, Brand Manager for Radio 1Xtra. Since her move to TV marketing,  she has led the delivery of some of the most high-profile marketing campaigns across the BBC portfolio including Attenborough's Africa for the Natural History Unit, Tracey Beaker for CBBC, and many others including Have I Got News for You, The Apprentice, Gavin and Stacey, Top Gear, Mock the Week and Doctor Who. 


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The BBC has recruited six new Assistant Commissioners from BAME backgrounds to help 'demystify' the corporation's commissioning process.