John Yorke is to return
to the BBC as Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent
Drama, it was announced today by Director of Drama, Entertainment
and CBBC Alan Yentob and Controller of Drama Commissioning Jane Tranter.
Currently Head of Drama at Channel 4, Yorke will be joined by Lucy
Richer - currently Deputy Head of Drama at Channel 4 - as Joint
Head of Independent Drama.
Alan Yentob says: "I'm delighted to welcome
John Yorke back to the BBC as Controller of Continuing Drama Series
with responsibility for EastEnders, Casualty, Holby and Doctors.
"Prior to his departure two years ago to become
Head of Drama at Channel 4, John's drama career at the BBC culminated
in his roles as executive producer of EastEnders and Head of Drama Series."
Jane Tranter says: "Alongside
continuing drama series, John will work with the independent sector
on an ambitious portfolio that encompasses series, serials and events
across all four channels.
"Working with Lucy Richer as Joint Head of Independent
Drama, we have a strong team in place to fulfil our continued ambitions
for the best of independently-produced drama.
"They will be the first port of call for all London-based
independent drama and will also have a specific brief to develop and
produce drama based in the north of England.
"Alongside independently-produced drama from Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland, this will allow us to further strengthen
our relationships with independents across the UK."
Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television, says: "John
Yorke and Lucy Richer's drama commissions for Channel 4 include the
highly acclaimed and enviable Shameless, Sex Traffic and The Deal. I'm
delighted that they are coming to join the BBC."
Alan Yentob also announces that Laura Mackie will oversee a newly-strengthened
in-house drama department which sees the merger of returning drama series
which include Waking The Dead, Down To Earth and Judge John Deed with
the Serials department responsible for a wide range of dramas
such as Blackpool, Cutting It, The Long Firm and Hawking.
In addition, Mackie will take responsibility for developing
drama in Birmingham and will oversee current Birmingham-made dramas
Dalziel and Pascoe and The Afternoon Play. She will also have a specific
brief to develop drama from Manchester.
Jane Tranter says: "These
new appointments usher a renewed creative push for drama at the BBC.
"They also give us the opportunity to create a
more coherent structure which will enable staff to have closer and more
effective working relationships.
"Plans for the further expansion of drama production
in the Nations and Regions, which will also play a critical role, are
currently being developed."