Channel 4’s Piers Wenger to Head BBC Drama Commissioning


LONDON: Piers Wenger has been tapped as the new controller of BBC drama commissioning, after having served as head of drama at Channel 4 since 2012.

Wenger will be responsible for commissioning across the BBC portfolio and overseeing more than 450 hours of drama a year on the BBC. At Channel 4, Wenger was commissioning original scripted drama for both C4 and E4. Prior to Channel 4, he was head of drama at BBC Wales and was the executive producer of Doctor Who when Matt Smith was in the lead role. Wenger will take up his new post this fall.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s controller of TV channels and iPlayer, said: “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.”

Wenger added: “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.”

Meanwhile, Beth Willis has been appointed as Channel 4’s new head of drama. She has been Channel 4’s deputy head of drama since 2012. As Willis is due to begin maternity leave this summer, Phil Clarke, currently Channel 4’s head of comedy, will take up the role of head of scripted and will oversee both drama and comedy commissioning over this period until she returns.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said: “I’ve loved working with Piers. He’s been an exceptional head of drama, delivering award-winning shows with record breaking audiences. It’s a fitting tribute to what he has achieved at 4 that he has been poached for the biggest job in drama commissioning.

“Beth is a passionate program maker and a superlative commissioner. She has played a critical part in Channel 4’s success and I am looking forward to working with her on the next phase of great drama at 4.”

Willis commented: “I’m honored and excited to be given this opportunity to usher in the next wave of ambitious, distinctive and entertaining dramas to the channel. I’m passionate about finding brilliant writers and producers—and encouraging them to do what they do best.”