Contact: Piers WengerRegion: All UK

Title: Controller, BBC Drama
Genre: Drama
Region: All UK

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Controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenger announces his new commissioning team and new writer initiatives.

Piers Wenger says: “The changes I’m announcing to my team will help deliver a better service to writers and producers, and a more focus and a co-ordinated approach to commissioning. My new structure has bolstered the commissioning team to ensure greater plurality of taste and vision; they are the tastemakers who have the right palate to champion creative risks and diverse ideas. They will also better reflect our commitment across the UK as it’s the first time we will have Commissioners with a dedicated role in each nation who are there to improve portrayal and grow sustainable drama bases.”

“I’m also introducing a new Head of Development role and I’ve appointed Ben Irving. He will be responsible for the overall co-ordination and management of the slate. He will also be the liaison with our international partners and take an overview to ensure we continue to be the place that commissions the broadest and most diverse range of drama in the world. On a practical level, these changes will help us respond quickly by creating a simpler structure and encourage greater ambition, support risk taking and originality.”

New Drama Commissioning team detailed below:

Lucy Richer

Lucy Richer has been appointed Senior Commissioning Editor for England.

Elizabeth Kilgarriff

Elizabeth Kilgarriff has been appointed Senior Commissioning Editor and takes on an expanded role commissioning drama for Scotland as well as England. Gaynor Holmes becomes Commissioning Executive for Scotland, based in Scotland and reporting to Elizabeth Kilgarriff.

Christopher Aird

Christopher Aird has been appointed Commissioning Editor, Wales and Continuing Drama.

Tommy Bulfin

Tommy Bulfin joins the BBC as Commissioning Editor for Northern Ireland from New Pictures. Tommy is currently the in-house development producer at New Pictures, having script edited Indian Summers for Channel 4 and The Missing for BBC One and working across the New Pictures development slate. Before joining New Pictures, Tommy worked as a script editor at Red Planet Pictures and Company Pictures.

Tommy has been involved with the Channel 4 Screenwriting course in various roles since its inception.

Ben Irving

Ben Irving joins the BBC in a newly created drama role as Head of Drama Development.

Ben began his career working in film development and production for Michael Kuhn’s Qwerty Films. After working on The Duchess as director’s assistant, he became a Development Coordinator at Warner Bros. Pictures, where he worked on Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. Moving to David Heyman’s Heyday Films in 2011 as a Development Executive, he spent the next six years working across Gravity, Paddington, Testament Of Youth, The Light Between Oceans and JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, and developing projects with talent including Jack Thorne, Peter Straughan and David Yates. In his last two years at Heyday, Ben expanded his role into television drama and developed a slate of projects as VP, Development and Production.

Mona Qureshi

Mona Qureshi joins the BBC as a Commissioning Editor for England. Mona joined The Ink Factory as Co-Head of Development and Production after working on Susanne Bier’s six-part adaptation of The Night Manager in 2015. She works across the development slate with specific creative focus on The Ink Factory’s le Carré library. Prior to that she worked as a script consultant, and as Programme Director for the JJ Charitable Trust Screenwriting Bursary, in association with BAFTA. Mona was previously Head of Development for Ruby Films and Television, and for some years a Development Executive at BBC Films.

Anne Edyvean

Anne Edyvean will become New Writing Associate and continues as Head of the BBC Writersroom.

BBC Writersroom


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Date: 28.06.2016    

Charlotte Moore, BBC Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer, today announced Piers Wenger as the new Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

He will be responsible for commissioning across the whole of the BBC portfolio and overseeing more than 450 hours of drama a year on the BBC, the biggest broadcaster of drama in the UK.

Charlotte Moore says: “Piers is a brilliant creative leader with great taste and a passion for writing. He has a breadth of experience and knowledge of the global industry, as well as a real understanding of audiences. BBC Drama is in exceptional form and I’m thrilled that Piers will continue to build on this and enhance our world-class reputation. I’m really excited by his ideas and vision and I’m looking forward to working with him and leading BBC drama to future success.”

On his new appointment Piers Wenger says: "I have had an unforgettable and brilliant time at Channel 4 and it is with real sadness that I am saying goodbye. But the scope and scale of BBC Drama make this an irresistible challenge and I could not be more excited about joining the talented team there and for the new relationships and creative adventures which lie ahead of me at the BBC."

Piers Wenger has been Head of Drama at Channel 4 drama since 2012, commissioning original scripted drama across both Channel 4 and E4. He has been responsible for launching popular series and award-winning shows. Over the last four years he has successfully increased the range of drama on the main channel and shifted the emphasis to include more returning series. Indian Summers, Paul Abbott’s No Offence and Humans were all re-commissioned for second series following strong ratings performances. In 2015, Indian Summers recorded the highest ever overnight in 20 years for a Channel 4 drama, and Humans went onto break that record later the same year.

He has continued Channel 4’s commitment to topical and challenging mini-series with the BAFTA-winning This is England 90 and Southcliffe, as well as the upcoming National Treasure by Jack Thorne and Peter Kosminsky's forthcoming ISIS drama. Piers has also fostered a new way of working at the broadcaster by significantly increasing the number of co-production partnerships and developing relationships with key international partners to deliver more ambitious shows.

Prior to Channel 4, Piers was Head of Drama at BBC Wales and was the executive producer of Doctor Who when Matt Smith was in the lead role. His other BBC commissioning credits include Tom Stoppard’s Parade's End; Christopher And His Kind; and Eric And Ernie which starred Victoria Wood, with whom he was a long-term creative collaborator.

Piers joined the BBC in 2008. Before that he produced Housewife 49 for ITV and Ballet Shoes for the BBC, and was head of development at Granada Drama. He read English Literature at University of Exeter.