Kenton Allen

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Kenton Allen
Kenton Allen.jpeg
Born (1965-06-16) 16 June 1965 (age 53)
OccupationChief Executive of Big Talk Productions
Years active1990–present
TelevisionTonight with Jonathan Ross
The Royle Family
Six Shooter
The Visit
The Omid Djalili Show
That Mitchell and Webb Look
After You've Gone
Him & Her
Friday Night Dinner
King Of...
Show Me The Funny
Free Agents (US)

Kenton Allen is a British television producer and executive. He became Chief Executive of Big Talk Productions in September 2008. He is a multi-award–winning programme-maker with credits including the BAFTA Award-winning sitcoms The Royle Family[1] and Rev. and the Oscar-winning film Six Shooter. He was the Advisory Chair of the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 2012.[2]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Stourbridge,[3] Worcestershire and educated at the Grange Comprehensive School and King Edward VI College, Stourbridge. He turned down a place to study the clarinet and saxophone at the Royal School of Music. In 1983, aged 18, he joined the BBC at Pebble Mill in Birmingham. His first BBC job was as a trainee studio manager, working on radio, TV and film productions as a sound recordist on productions including Howards' Way, Pebble Mill at One, and The Archers, where he spent three months doing spot Fx and once played Aunt Laura's dead body wrapped in ¼ inch recording tape.[citation needed]


BBC Radio (1986–1990)[edit]

In 1986 he moved to BBC Radio Nottingham where he briefly worked as a producer/presenter. This led to two simultaneous job offers from BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 1. He took both and worked for a year as a producer on Ned Sherrin's Sony award-winning Loose Ends for BBC Radio 4 before moving to BBC Radio 1 in 1988 where he became the station's youngest ever producer.[citation needed] At BBC Radio 1 he produced Simon Bates, Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Walters Weekly presented by John Peel's producer John Walters and created a new series Jonathan Ross Live from Ronnie Scott's, which was broadcast live from Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on Fridays at 6pm for 13 weeks. The script for the series was written by Danny Baker and the diverse range of guests included a memorable appearance by Robert Maxwell.[citation needed]


Channel X (1990–1994)[edit]

In 1990 he joined the recently formed independent production company Channel X to produce all of Jonathan Ross's shows. He produced over 200 live editions of Tonight with Jonathan Ross for Channel 4. In 1991 he produced Jonathan Ross Presents Madonna, which became Channel 4's highest rated entertainment programme of the year. Other credits include the innovative live comedy entertainment series Saturday Zoo which featured the live television debuts of the likes of Steve Coogan, John Thompson, Lily Savage, and Mark Thomas, and the factual entertainment hit Fantastic Facts for ITV.

Granada (1994–1997)[edit]

In 1994, he joined Granada Television's Entertainment Department where he developed and produced a wide range of comedy and entertainment programming including Lucky Numbers, The Shane Richie Experience, Stars in Their Eyes and The Mrs Merton Show. He was appointed Head of Development, and ran all of Granada's entertainment development across the full spectrum of the entertainment genre.

Lucky Dog Ltd (1998–1999)[edit]

In February 1998, he became Managing Director of Lucky Dog Ltd, a member of the Chrysalis Group. He co-devised and produced the adult comedy series A Many Splintered Thing starring Alan Davies for BBC1.

Granada (1997-2001)[edit]

In March 1999, he re-joined Granada Television to continue his creative collaboration with Caroline Aherne. Allen produced two series and two Christmas specials of the multi-award-winning The Royle Family as well as Harry Enfield's Sermon from St Albion's for ITV and an award-winning documentary Back Passage To India for BBC1, which involved dragging Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash unwillingly around remote Indian villages for three weeks.

Shine (2001–2003)[edit]

In January 2001, he was approached by Elisabeth Murdoch to become the founding creative director of the independent production company Shine. Allen was a key member of the launch team that secured the initial start-up financing. He quickly established the core creative divisions and overall creative strategy for the start-up company and recruited the core business affairs, finance, and creative personnel. He also established a talent incubator for comedy film directors in partnership with the UK Film Council and Film4.[4]

BBC Television (2003–2008)[edit]

Allen was BBC's Creative Head of Comedy Talent and Comedy North. He joined the BBC as its comedy editor in February 2003, and was responsible for developing and producing all forms of comedy for the four main BBC broadcast networks and running the in-house production teams. He immediately established a department based in Manchester called Comedy North.[5] He produced and executive-produced a diverse range of comedy programming including the BAFTA-winning sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look (BBC Two), the BAFTA-nominated drama series Funland (BBC Three), The Omid Djalili Show (BBC One), After You’ve Gone (BBC One), Freezing (BBC Two), The Visit (BBC One and BBC Three), Massive (BBC Three) and four series of Ideal (BBC Two and BBC Three).

Big Talk Productions (2008–present)[edit]

Allen became CEO of Big Talk Productions in 2008. There he has produced two six-part comedies which were broadcast to record audiences and huge critical acclaim. The BAFTA-winning Rev. created by James Wood and Tom Hollander for BBC2 scooped four titles at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and was nominated at the BAFTAs for Best Situation Comedy. Him & Her, the most successful sitcom launch in the history of BBC3, written by Stefan Golaszewski and starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani, picked up Best Comedy Performance for the two stars at the Royal Television Society Awards. Having acknowledged the loyal audience of Him & Her during its first and second series, a third series was commissioned.[6]

Upcoming is a second series for Threesome (Comedy Central), a sitcom by Tom MacRae, starring Amy Huberman, Emun Elliot and Stephen Wight, and Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), written and produced by Robert Popper and starring Tamsin Greig, Paul Ritter, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal. Both are currently in post-production.

Following their successful pilots, Chickens (Sky 1),[7] written by and starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas and Jonny Sweet, and The Job Lot,[8] a series for ITV written by Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane, are both underway for a full series.

Currently shooting is the third series of Him & Her and Big Talk’s first three-part contemporary drama The Town (ITV), written by Laurence Olivier award-winning playwright Mike Bartlett. In addition, miniseries A Young Doctor's Notebook, which Big Talk is producing for Sky Arts, and stars Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe, has just finished shooting.

Allen is the Advisory Chair of the 2012 Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.


In 2005, he was nominated for his third BAFTA for producing the film Six Shooter, written and directed by Olivier award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh. The film won an Oscar at the 2006 Academy Awards.

Personal life[edit]

He is married to the writer and author Imogen Edwards-Jones.[9] They have two children, Allegra and Rafe. The difficult conception of Allegra was written about by Edwards-Jones in a recurring Daily Telegraph column[10] that were subsequently collected into a book called The Stork Club.[11]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Award Work Category Result
1998 British Comedy Awards The Royle Family Best New TV Comedy Won
1999 BAFTA TV Award The Royle Family Best Comedy (Programme or Series) Nominated
British Comedy Awards The Royle Family Best TV Sitcom Won
RTS Television Award The Royle Family Best Situation Comedy/Comedy Drama Nominated
2000 BAFTA TV Award The Royle Family Situation Comedy Award Won
National Television Award The Royle Family Most Popular Comedy Programme Won
RTS Television Award The Royle Family Best Situation Comedy/Comedy Drama Nominated
BAFTA TV Award The Royle Family Situation Comedy Award Won
British Comedy Awards The Royle Family Best TV Comedy Won
TV Quick Award The Royle Family Best Comedy Show Won
2001 BAFTA TV Award The Royle Family Situation Comedy Award Nominated
2005 BAFTA Film Award Six Shooter Best Short Film Nominated
British Independent Film Awards Six Shooter Best British Short Won
2006 BAFTA TV Award Funland Best Drama Serial Nominated
Academy Award Six Shooter Best Short Film, Live Action Won
Leuven International Short Film Festival Six Shooter Audience Award Won
2011 Banff Rockie Award Rev. Best Sitcom Nominated
Broadcasting Press Guild Award Rev. Best Comedy/Entertainment Nominated
BAFTA TV Award Rev. Best Situation Comedy Won

[12] [13] [14] [15]


Year Production Role Notes
1990 Tonight with Jonathan Ross Producer TV series
1991 Band Explosion Executive Producer TV series
1993 Saturday Zoo Producer TV series
1994 The Mrs Merton Show Producer TV series
1998 Comedy Lab Executive Producer TV series
A Many Splintered Thing Producer TV short
Babes In The Wood Producer TV series
1999 Sermon from St Albion's Producer TV series
2000 A Many Splintered Thing Producer TV series
1999–2000 The Royle Family Producer TV series
2002 Post Producer Short
2003 Watch with Monkey Executive Producer TV series
Hello, Friend Producer Short
The Crouches Executive Producer TV series
2004 Six Shooter Producer Short
My Life in Film Executive Producer TV series
2005 According to Bex Executive Producer TV series
10:96:Training Night Executive Producer TV
Funland Executive Producer TV series
Harold the Amazing Contortionist Pig Producer Short
2005–2008 Ideal Executive Producer TV series
2006 The Truth Associate Producer Feature
I'm With Stupid Executive Producer TV series
2006–2008 That Mitchell and Webb Look Executive Producer TV series
2007 I'm With Stupid Executive Producer TV
Scallywagga Executive Producer TV series
Sound Executive Producer TV
The Visit Executive Producer TV series
Where Have I Been All Your Life? Executive Producer Short
The Omid Djalili Show Executive Producer TV series
2007–2008 Freezing Producer TV series
After You've Gone Executive Producer TV series
2008 Placebo Executive Producer TV
Massive Executive Producer TV series
2008–2009 Parents of the Band Executive Producer TV series
2010–2011 Him & Her Producer TV series
Rev. Producer (2010), EP (2011) TV series
2011 Friday Night Dinner Executive Producer TV series
King Of... Executive Producer TV series
Show Me The Funny Executive Producer TV series
Chickens Executive Producer TV series
Free Agents U.S. Executive Producer TV series
Threesome Executive Producer TV series
2013 Ambassadors Executive Producer TV series
2014 Our Zoo Executive Producer TV series
2017 Back Executive Producer TV series


  1. ^ "The Royle Family Wins BAFTA Award". Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  2. ^ Dowell, Ben (2011-10-03). "Kenton Allen takes Edinburgh TV festival role". London: Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  3. ^ Laws, Roz (2013-04-21). "West Midlands drama suffers a TV production crisis". Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  4. ^ Plunkett, John (2003-01-22). "Allen Jumps Ship to Join BBC". London: Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  5. ^ "BBC Comedy goes up North". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  6. ^ "Kenton Allen: Faith in his comedy". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  7. ^ Plunkett, John (2012-02-23). "Sky1 hopes Chickens will hatch into a comedy hit". London: Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  8. ^ "ITV announce new sitcom pilot with Russell Tovey". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  9. ^ Anstead, Mark (2009-06-05). "Fame & fortune:Hotel Babylon author Imogen Edwards-Jones". London: Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  10. ^ Allen, Kenton (2005-07-22). "At 7.25, our daughter joined us". London: Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  11. ^ "My struggle to join the club". London: 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  12. ^ "Awards for The Royle Family'". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  13. ^ "Awards for Six Shooter'". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  14. ^ "Awards for Kenton Allen'". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  15. ^ "Awards for Rev.'". Retrieved 2012-03-02.

External links[edit]