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Whether Sex Education or a doc lens on Robbie Williams or David Beckham, whether The Crown or Black Mirror — London-based TV veteran Anne Mensah, vp, U.K. content at Netflix, has kept bringing global fans the Brit hits since joining the streamer in 2018.
“The future is even stronger,” the former BBC and Sky exec vowed at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August. She leads the streamer’s teams across all genres, from scripted series and film to unscripted, documentaries and licensed programs.
Among the upcoming series from the team of the U.K. content guru are Guy Ritchie-produced-and-directed The Gentlemen with Theo James about the son of an English aristocrat whose inheritance sits on top of Europe’s biggest weed farm, as well as mythological dark comedy Kaos, created by Charlie Covell (The End of the F***ing World). She was also named Britain’s third-most influential Black person on The Powerlist 2023.
For THR‘s feature on the 35 Most Powerful Women in International Television, Mensah shared thoughts on the good and the bad of 2023, as well as how to further improve diversity in the entertainment industry.
What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this past year?
Integrating all the U.K. genres from licensing through factual to film into a single content team. That said, unbelievably brilliant colleagues have also made it one of the best things that has happened all year. We work as a collaborative, fun and inspiring unit, trading ideas and knowledge across all genres. It’s amazing.
What do you see as your biggest achievement of the past year?
We are now in full flight with the Netflix U.K. slate and are delivering real range to our U.K. members. That means ensuring some of our biggest franchises end well — Sex Education, Top Boy and The Crown — whilst continuing successful shows like Heartstopper, through launching new successes like our limiteds Obsession and Who Is Erin Carter? or major factual pieces, such as At Home With the Furies or our Lewis Capaldi film How I’m Feeling Now.
And we’ve got so many great new commissions in production now, such as Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen or Joe Barton’s Black Doves. I know we are going to go from strength to strength in 2024.
What needs to be done to improve equality and diversity within the industry?
In the U.K., I’m interested in how we ensure retention in the industry for people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. We’ve had thousands poured into entry-level schemes but I think there is real power in ensuring people can stay and have long-term careers in the industry. I’m also interested in thinking about new ways of working — job sharing for instance — that can support workers who have different pressures on their time or physical abilities.
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