Netflix Executive Lindsay Salt Gets Top Drama Job at BBC

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The BBC has poached well-respected scripted executive Lindsay Salt from Netflix, to serve as the public broadcaster’s new director of drama — one of the most high-profile jobs in British television.

Salt — who commissioned Netflix shows such as the forthcoming “One Day” and “Half Bad” — replaces Piers Wenger, who left the BBC to oversee the international film and TV slate for Hollywood indie studio A24 alongside BBC Films boss Rose Garnett.

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Salt’s hire is a major coup for the BBC and marks an especially rare occasion where a U.K. public broadcaster has lured away streaming talent. The current generally flows the other way, with Netflix having snapped up BBC drama executive Mona Qureshi to join its scripted series team earlier this year.

Salt, who worked closely with Anne Mensah at Netflix, will report directly to Charlotte Moore, chief content officer at the BBC, and lead the drama commissioning team. She will start her new role in the fall. Ben Irving — whom many in the U.K. drama community had tipped for the top drama job — will continue as acting director in the interim.

Salt joined Netflix from Sky in 2019, reuniting with her former Sky boss Mensah. She was part of the first U.K. scripted team at Netflix, and helped to establish the new slate with Mensah. Her commissions include “Baby Reindeer,” “The F*** it Bucket” and “Palomino.” She also worked across shows such as “Heartstopper” and Season 5 of “The Crown.”

Prior to Netflix, Salt was head of development for Sky’s drama team, where she ran the development slate for Sky One and Sky Atlantic. She was across developments ranging from “The Lazarus Project” to “The Third Day.” She started her career at Left Bank Pictures.

Moore said Salt’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,” continued Moore. “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 U.K. 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.”

Mensah, VP of U.K. series, said: “I have utterly loved working with Lindsay both here at Netflix and previously at Sky. Lindsay has been instrumental in building our slate at Netflix U.K. with fabulous commissions such as ‘One Day,’ ‘Half Bad’ and ‘Palomino.’ I know she is going to be just as brilliant at the BBC and we shall all be applauding her future success.”

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