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BBC Studios restructures entertainment arm

BBC New Broadcasting HouseBBC Studios is splitting its entertainment, music and events arm into two, with current divisional chief Roger Leatham set to take a new role as a result.

New creative leaders are being sought for an entertainment and music division and a separate factual entertainment and events arm.

Leatham, who is currently director of entertainment, music and events, will become director of business affairs for BBC Studios in mid-August.

The new hires will report into BBC Studios director Mark Linsey, with the BBC’s commercial production arm seeking candidates with “managing director experience and a strong track record of delivering commercial success in a creative and competitive environment”.

“Following discussions with Mark, we both identified the need to make some radical changes across Entertainment, Music and Events to give it the best possible chance of success going forward,” said Leatham.

“I am very pleased to be taking on the new role of director of business affairs across all of BBC Studios’ output, leading on our deal making and talent strategy and relationships”.

The recruitment process for the two new director positions will begin shortly.

BBC Studios Entertainment and Music will house series such as Strictly Come Dancing, A Question of Sport and The Boss, Later… with Jules Holland and David Bowie: The Last 5 Years.

BBC Studios Factual Entertainment and Events will oversee Top Gear, Amazing Hotels, The Life Swap Adventure and The World According to Kids, Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday: The Cenotaph among others.

BBC Studios formally launched as a wholly owned subsidiary of the BBC in April, marking the first time BBC production has been run as a commercial venture.

Leatham, who has worked as the BBC’s business affairs and legal chief in the past, succeeded Katie Taylor as entertainment, music and events chief last year.

His business acumen was a key factor in his appointment, with Linsey pointing to similar traits in his picks for factual and scripted chiefs, Lisa Opie and Nick Betts respectively.

Linsey said: “Roger has made a significant and valuable contribution to BBC Studios in the last year, helping redesign and reshape this part of the business and overseeing much creative success onscreen, including Strictly Come Dancing’s strongest performance to date, award wins for programmes like the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance 2016 and Later with…Jools Holland, and powerful and complex broadcasts such as One Love Manchester, which was turned around in five days.

“We are delighted Roger has agreed to lead BBC Studios’ business affairs strategy and we look forward to welcoming two new creative entrepreneurs to lead these important areas for our business.”