BBC Four controller will move to ITV

Richard Klein Richard Klein has a long career in commissioning groundbreaking programmes

Richard Klein, BBC Four's controller, will defect to ITV as its new factual boss.

Klein had been head of the channel since 2008, replacing Janice Hadlow, who went to BBC Two.

Together with colleagues in Acquisitions - the controller successfully put Scandinavian drama at the heart of BBC Four.

The Killing, a Danish crime drama that followed a detective with a penchant for quirky sweaters, aired to great critical acclaim.

Other BBC Four credits include: Blood Sweat And T-shirts, Filthy Rich And Homeless and Mischief.

He was at the helm when the channel broadcast its highest-rated programme.

Gracie! got an audience of 1.5m when it aired in 2011. The programme - part of the Women We Love season of dramas - documented the heartbreaking love story of WWII singer Gracie Fields.

Klein joined the BBC in 1996 as a series producer and then moved into commissioning.

The executive was in charge of giving the green light to The White Season on BBC Two, a controversial series of programmes about working-class white people in Britain, which aired in 2008.

He also commissioned indies to make programmes for the BBC across a range of genres, including arts, music, religion, specialist factual and documentaries.

Announcing his departure to television staff, director of Television Danny Cohen said Klein had 'helped to make BBC Four feel like a big place - a place that people talk about'.

Because of the potential conflict of interest, Klein will leave the BBC with immediate effect.

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