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12/11/2004

John Yorke to lead strengthened and regions-focused BBC Drama Department

Former BBC Head of Drama Series John Yorke is to return to the corporation as Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent Drama, with a brief to further production in the North of England and other regions.
The appointment was announced by Director of Drama, Entertainment and CBBC Alan Yentob and Controller of Drama Commissioning Jane Tranter.
Head of Drama at Channel 4 for the last two years, Yorke will be joined by Lucy Richer, currently Deputy Head of Drama at Channel 4, who becomes Joint Head of Independent Drama.
Yentob said: "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’.”
Jane Tranter said: "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, said: "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."
Additionally, Laura Mackie will oversee a newly-strengthened in-house drama department, formed from a merger of the Returning Drama Series unit, responsible for ‘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.
Tranter added: "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."
(GB)
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