John Yorke to leave BBC Drama
John Yorke is to leave BBC Drama after a long association to head up an independent production company.
The controller of drama production and new talent will become managing director at Company Pictures, the indie behind titles like Shameless, Skins, George Gently and The Shadow Line.
Yorke's relationship with BBC Drama goes back to 1994 when he first joined EastEnders as a producer.
He went on to exec produce the soap from 2000 until 2003, keeping it in his sights when - after a short period at Channel 4 when he worked with Company Pictures on the first series of Shameless - he returned to the BBC in 2004 as controller of continuing drama and head of independent drama.
During this period, he was also executive producer of Life on Mars, Bodies and Waterloo Road among others.
Yorke, who first joined the BBC in 1986, continues to oversee continuing drama, as well as exec producing single dramas including Hughie Greene - Most Sincerely, Land Girls and The Curse of Steptoe.
Five years ago, he established the BBC Writers Academy. He still runs the full time training course for new writers, with many of the graduates going on to write for Holby, Casualty, Doctors and, of course, EastEnders.
Yorke described his new job as 'a huge honour' and an 'incredibly exciting challenge'.