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Acting Archers editor

Keri Davies Keri Davies | 12:23 PM, Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Vanessa Whitburn and John Yorke

Archers editor Vanessa Whitburn is about to take a few months' long service leave.

While she's away, she'll be handing over the editorial reins to John Yorke, who is currently BBC Vision's controller of drama production and new talent. Among other things, this means John oversees four famous long-running dramas: EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty and Doctors.

John joined us on Monday, when Vanessa chaired our regular monthly scriptmeeting, followed by a full day where we discussed long-term storylines plans. It was an ideal introduction to the engine room of The Archers.

John worked as a theatre director before joining the BBC in 1986. He produced radio dramas for the old BBC Radio 5, and says he learned almost everything he knows about drama there.

John adds: 'I've spent only a few days with Vanessa and her team but already I've been hugely impressed not just by the level of detail and professionalism but by the absolute love and passion with which they make the show. I hope to capture as much of that as I can in the few months she's away. Their dedication only underlines what an honour it is to be here. I can't wait to get started.'

A few listeners have expressed concerns that John might introduce EastEnders values to Ambridge. While we certainly hope to learn from his expertise, I think they can be confident that we won't be hearing 'you slaaaaaaag' in the Bull.

Vanessa plans to use her four months off to travel, and will return, no doubt reinvigorated, in July.

Keri Davies is an Archers (and Ambridge Extra) scriptwriter and web producer.


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