New editors announced for Radio 4 dramas based at BBC Birmingham

I'm honoured to take the reins of our national epic drama..."Sean O'Connor, new Editor, The Archers
Date: 05.08.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.53
Category: Radio 4
The BBC has today confirmed the appointments of two editors joining the BBC Radio Drama production base in Birmingham.

Sean O'Connor has been announced as the new Editor of BBC Radio 4’s long-running drama series, The Archers. He’s no stranger to Ambridge having worked as a producer on the show in the late 1990s, before moving on to work in various continuing TV dramas such as EastEnders and Hollyoaks.

Sean has also worked across the UK as a theatre director. In 2011 he produced the feature film version of Terence Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea directed by Terence Davies and starring Rachel Weisz. Earlier this year his book, Handsome Brute, about the murders of RAF playboy Neville Heath in the immediate post-war period, was also published.

He will take on the role in mid-September and will be based at BBC Birmingham in The Mailbox where The Archers is recorded.

Sean O’Connor said: “I'm delighted to be returning to Ambridge to work with the team in Birmingham. I'm honoured to take the reins of our national epic drama and to build on the extraordinary achievements of Vanessa Whitburn who dedicated much of her career to this unique cultural institution."

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4, said: “The Archers is our most-loved and longstanding daily drama and the job of Editor carries great responsibility and trust. Sean is steeped in story-telling and will be working with the immensely talented Archers team in Birmingham so I am extremely pleased to be welcoming him back to Ambridge.”

In addition, Jessica Dromgoole has been appointed as the editor of Radio 4’s new ambitious drama serial charting life on the Home Front during the First World War.

The drama, which will be recorded in Birmingham, will follow the lives of a series of characters as they confront the challenges and changes experienced by a nation facing its first experience of total war. Currently a producer in the BBC Radio Drama production team in London, Jessica will take on the role in Birmingham in early September.

The project will run in real time over the four years from 2014 to 2018 to mark the full centenary of the Great War.

Notes to Editors

In March it was announced that Vanessa Whitburn was retiring from her role as editor of The Archers. Vanessa was the longest serving editor in the history of the programme, having held the post for 22 years.

The Archers is the world’s longest running soap opera and follows the residents of the fictional farming community of Ambridge. It started in 1950 when the BBC’s Midlands Home Service broadcast five pilot episodes of a new, experimental drama series.

The Archers reaches 4.7m listeners each week and is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 19.00 Sunday to Friday. Omnibus edition of the whole week's episodes is broadcast every Sunday at 10.00.

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