'Penny Dreadful,' 'Jarhead' Producer Pippa Harris Named BAFTA Chair

Pippa Harris - Getty H - 2018
Credit: Tabatha Fireman / Getty

The veteran U.K. executive who co-founded Neal Street Productions will succeed Jane Lush at the British Academy.

Pippa Harris, a hugely respected name in British film and TV, has been appointed as the new chair of BAFTA. 

The news was unveiled Monday, with Harris — who has been deputy chair for the past year and closely involved with BAFTA for a decade — set to succeed Jane Lush. Her tenure will run for the next two years.

Harris is best known as having established Neal Street Productions, which she set up with Sam Mendes and Caro Newling in 2003 and continues to run its film and TV division with Nicolas Brown. The banner — which was bought by All3Media in 2015 — has been behind numerous major films, with Harris having produced Starter for Ten, Stuart: A Life Backwards, co-produced Jarhead and executive produced the Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road. On the TV side, she has executive produced award-winning shows including Call the Midwife, The Hollow Crown, Penny Dreadful, as well as Britannia, Jez Butterworth’s recent drama series for Sky Atlantic. 

Previously, Harris was the head of drama commissioning for the BBC where her commissions included The Lost Prince, State of Play and Daniel Deronda. Pippa joined the BBC in 1997 as a development executive for BBC films before becoming executive producer of BBC Drama Serials.

“It’s a great honor to be elected chair of BAFTA and I’m fortunate to be following in Jane Lush’s forthright footsteps," said Harris. "The last year has been a difficult and turbulent time for many in our industry, and I want to pay tribute to the calm, determined leadership that Jane has shown."

She added: "Alongside Jane, BAFTA’s talented and committed staff and membership, I want to ensure BAFTA continues to be a beacon for best practice in our industry. Now more than ever it’s vital that we continue to expand our outreach initiatives, scholarship programme and talent development schemes in order to ensure that those entering the industry are encouraged and supported regardless of their background, race or gender."