Piers Wenger and Rose Garnett to leave the BBC

Piers Wenger and Rose Garnett to leave the BBC

Director of Drama, Piers Wenger and Director of Film, Rose Garnett, are leaving the BBC to join A24 and will remain in London.

Piers Wenger says: “After a decade as a drama commissioner it is high time I gave someone else a go. The last six years working for Charlotte and the BBC have been more creatively challenging, more emboldening and more fun than anyone has the right to in the name of work. I am indebted to the BBC and the extraordinary range of writers, producers and directors it has been my privilege to work alongside. There are mountains to climb everywhere but I predict a magical time ahead for BBC Drama as the next generation of thinkers and taste-makers step up to shape its future. I want to pay tribute to the colossal talents of the team in place and I will be watching with pride and awe as they start the process of carving out a fresh vision.”

Rose Garnett says: “The BBC is unparalleled as a place to make great work. Under the inspiring and generous leadership of Charlotte Moore, myself and the Film Team have been able to discover, support and celebrate voices and stories from across the UK and beyond. The BBC Film Team was the best team to be part of: dedicated, bold, passionate and rigorous. I know that the creative confidence and the imagination of the next generation of commissions and commissioners will produce wonderful films. Thank you to all my colleagues and to the filmmakers that let me work alongside them.”

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says: “Piers Wenger has been an outstanding Director of Drama over the last six years at the BBC. Under his inspirational leadership, BBC Drama has flourished and at a time of intense competition, he has cemented the BBC’s reputation as the home of creative risk taking and the most original, fearless and ambitious British storytelling. Piers is an exceptional creative with a huge regard for public service, an eye for both the popular and the profound and an appetite for complexity and provocation. His vision has delivered a scope and scale that’s truly unique to the BBC and he’s been responsible for commissioning a slate that’s both genre busting and celebrates British authorship, identity and life in all its most diverse forms.

“Achieving huge success on a national and global stage, Piers has commissioned a remarkable range of critically acclaimed and award winning hit shows including The Tourist, The Responder, This is Going to Hurt, The Serpent, A Very British Scandal, His Dark Materials, Time, A Very English Scandal, Bodyguard, Gentleman Jack, Vigil, The Salisbury Poisonings, I May Destroy You and Normal People. He has worked with the very best established and emerging writers and has always striven to give talent the creative freedom to experiment and to produce bold and innovative ideas. He is a champion of authorship, authenticity and originality and he’s passionate about discovering new voices. During his tenure, BBC Drama has worked with more first time screenwriters from across the UK than ever before.

“I will miss Piers hugely – his generosity, his creative curiosity and his dedication to excellence – he has been a joy to work with. But he leaves BBC Drama in exceptional form and I know the incredibly talented and committed drama commissioning team will continue the great work.”

Piers will leave the BBC in May. Ben Irving will take on the role of Acting Director of BBC Drama until an appointment is made.

Charlotte Moore continues: “Rose Garnett has been a dynamic and inspirational leader who passionately believes in the BBC and the creative power of British independent film. She has transformed and energised BBC Film to become the home of creative risk taking, defining its core remit around growing new talent and becoming the home of the most exciting authorial voices in British film. Working with both world class and debut filmmakers, Rose is a champion for talent at every level. Her passion for nurturing writers and protecting and promoting the directors vision is never short of impressive. Since joining the BBC in 2017, she has fearlessly pushed the boundaries of BBC Film and developed some of the most distinctive voices in the industry. The phenomenal number of nominations at this year’s BAFTA’s, Oscars and BIFA’s is testament to her bold, ambitious and diverse slate at every level of British independent filmmaking.

“During her time as Director of Film at the BBC, Rose has been responsible for bringing an extraordinary range of outstanding British films to audiences across the UK and the globe with titles including The Souvenir 1 & 2, Blue Story, Small Axe, The Nest, The Power of The Dog, Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Judy, After Love, Ali & Ava Cow, Normal People and People Just Do Nothing – Big in Japan. Last year she expanded her department to include the award winning documentary strand Storyville under the new leadership of Philippa Kowarsky.

“Rose has built a creatively exciting, bold and distinctive film department and I will miss her greatly, both personally and professionally. But she leaves a great legacy and I know the BBC Film and Storyville teams will continue her brilliant work.”

Rose will leave the BBC in May. Eva Yates will take on the role of Acting Director of BBC Film until an appointment is made.

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Record quarter for drama as ITV makes full series available to stream

Record quarter for drama as ITV makes full series available

Three out of the top four highest rating new dramas in the UK, across any channel and streamer, are from ITV so far in 2022

With many of the most popular dramas across any channel or streaming service so far in 2022, ITV has had a very strong start to the year in scripted.

New, recently released 28 day consolidated data for The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe shows that the total audience for the first episode rose by a massive 5.4 million viewers in the 28 days after the initial broadcast, with the four-part series as a whole averaging a total audience of over 9 million viewers, up by 5.1 million/123% on the broadcast transmission.

Written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang, and starring Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan, The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe told the story of the Hartlepool based couple and their infamous insurance scam and gained critical acclaim from reviewers. In total ITV has shown three out of the top four dramas across any channel or streamer in 2022, and six out of the top ten new dramas, and all have more than doubled their audience in the 28 days after their initial broadcast.

These include Including Trigger Point, ITV’s biggest drama so far in 2022, which averaged a total audience of 9.5 million viewers, Our House which averaged a total audience of 7.4 million viewers and No Return, which averaged a total audience of 6.5 million viewers, as well as DI Ray (currently averaging 5.7m viewers) and The Ipcress File, which averaged a total audience of 5.3 million viewers.

The majority of ITV drama full series are now available for streaming following the first episode initial broadcast, as ITV continues its digital-first strategy for key genres, in the run-up to launching ITVX in Q4. This has helped drive the best ever start to the year for drama viewing online with 125 million streams for the four months to the end of April, up 8% year on year.

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Kate Phillips appointed Director of Unscripted in new commissioning structure

Kate Phillips appointed Director of Unscripted in new commissioning structure

BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore has announced that Kate Phillips will take on the newly created Director of Unscripted role following an internal restructure of BBC Television’s senior leadership team to accelerate the BBC’s strategic priorities.

Unscripted programming plays a vital role across broadcast and on-demand; it is crucial to growing BBC iPlayer and keeping our channels strong. This new structure will bring together all of our commissioning teams across Entertainment, Factual, Arts & Classical Music and Daytime, Early-Peak & Events into a single commissioning unit under the leadership of Kate Phillips, to keep pace with changing audience behaviour and unlock new creative opportunities.

As the Director of Unscripted, Kate will be responsible for the overall commissioning strategy for the full range of unscripted content, harnessing her brilliant relationships with talent and suppliers to ensure the most distinctive and impactful programmes for audiences across the UK. Leading our team of world-class commissioners, Kate will ensure the ongoing strength of our unique specialisms, whilst driving more value from new collaborations between genres and with Nations commissioning teams.

Kate will report to Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore. These changes will see the closure of the existing Director of Entertainment and Director of Factual, Arts & Classical Music roles and a new Head of Entertainment commissioning role created.

The Heads of Commissioning who will report directly to Kate are:

Arts & Classical Music – Suzy Klein.Daytime, Early Peak & Events – Lindsay Bradbury (acting).Documentaries, History & Religion – Clare Sillery.Entertainment – to be advertised.Natural History & Science – Jack Bootle.Popular Factual & Factual Entertainment – Catherine Catton.

In this new structure, Kate will be accountable for the overall performance and editorial strategy, empowering the respective Heads whilst ensuring the portfolio of commissions align to the agreed audience and supply objectives.

Fiona Campbell will return to her role as BBC Three Controller. The Directors of Comedy, Drama and Film roles remain unchanged.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says; “Kate’s extensive experience working as Controller of BBC One, running Entertainment for the last 5 years and previously as Channel Executive for BBC One and BBC Three, Creative Director of Formats for BBC Worldwide and her years in production, makes her uniquely placed to lead across this new role as Director of Unscripted. She is an outstanding leader and manager with an exemplary track record in commissioning, working with suppliers and talent and she understands the critical and complex role Unscripted plays on both iPlayer and the channels. By bringing the genres together as a single team, she will streamline development to empower our world class team of commissioners to achieve even greater creative excellence.”

Kate Phillips says : “I’m really looking forward to working closely with our extremely talented Heads and their teams to ensure we continue to commission innovative, impactful and distinctive content for BBC audiences across the UK. This new role will allow our unscripted teams to not only do their best work creatively, but also collaborate more with each other, leading to exciting opportunities for all our on and off screen talent.”

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Miriam Margolyes & Alan Cumming return to Channel 4 to get Lost in Scotland and Beyond

Miriam Margolyes & Alan Cumming return to Channel 4 to

Following a successful first outing for ‘TV’s new golden odd couple,’ Hollywood actors Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming are back behind the campervan wheel as their rip-roaring road trip antics continue across Scotland… and beyond.

Miriam & Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond (4×60’), produced by Blink Films, will follow the pair as they take in some of Scotland’s most spectacular and far-flung locations before they journey across the pond to their other mutual home, the American West Coast – a place that has shaped both of their lives.

Our dynamic duo will kick off their journey in Scotland, once again meeting a range of quirky and unexpected characters and there’ll certainly be a few surprises in store for both Miriam and Alan.

The next part of their adventure finds the pair swap their campervan for a supersized RV – much to Miriam’s delight – as they take in the sights of the stunning California coastline and reconnect with people and places from this amazing chapter in their lives.

Miriam wastes no time in whisking Alan right off to the apartment where she lived for 16 transformative years, on the palm-lined Ocean Avenue, seeking out her old synagogue and reliving her first encounters in Hollywood. Alan delights in introducing her to some of his favourite haunts and closest friends, as they take in the glorious coastline from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Throughout their journey, the duo will deliver their unique brand of banter, storytelling and antics as they travel to places packed with memories and personal connections, that mix the funny and outrageous with the poignant.

Alan Cumming: “I can’t wait to get the show on the road again! Driving round my homeland with a potty mouthed octogenarian was one of the most joyous months I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad that joy translated on to the screen. So to do it again and to explore California as well seems almost too much of a carry on!”

Miriam Margolyes: “I thought I’d experienced almost everything, but being driven around Scotland with Mr. Cumming, was such a delightful new pleasure I can’t wait to repeat it. He is funny, kind and wise – and together we laughed and marvelled and remembered. It will be a joy to get going again; I hope I’ve got some surprises left to tickle his fancy.”

Deborah Dunnett, Commissioning Editor for Features and Daytime at Channel 4: “What a pair! I can’t wait for them to unleash more skeletons from deep within their closets.”

Laura Jones, Creative Director at Blink Films and Executive Producer: “What a blast to be back on the road again with this delightful pair! Series 2 promising more surprises, joy and jockstrap obsession as they get lost in far-flung Scotland and the Californian coast.”

Miriam & Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond was commissioned for Channel 4 by Deborah Dunnett, Commissioning Editor for Features & Daytime. The 4×60’ series is made by Blink Films; a Tin Roof Media company and the Executive Producer is Laura Jones.

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