ITV Recruits BBC Drama Head Polly Hill


LONDON: A number of new senior appointments have been made across ITV Studios and ITV, including Polly Hill joining the network commissioning team as head of drama.

Hill was previously the controller of BBC drama commissioning. She oversaw the launch of Doctor Foster, War and Peace and The Night Manager.

Additionally, Optomen managing director Sue Murphy will join ITV commissioning as head of factual entertainment. Siobhan Greene will move from ITV Studios to become the commissioning team’s head of entertainment, and Peter Davey has been promoted to head of comedy entertainment. Meanwhile, Angela Jain is to succeed Greene as managing director of ITV Studios Entertainment.

Rosemary Newell, Discovery Networks International’s senior VP of content and operations, will become ITV’s head of digital channels and acquisitions, as Jain moves to ITV’s production business.

Hill, Murphy, Greene, Davey and Newell will all report to Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television. Jain will report to Julian Bellamy, managing director of ITV Studios.

Lygo said: “A channel’s programming is only as good as the choices the commissioning teams make, and so it is vital to have the best people possible in these crucial positions. I’m delighted to announce that Polly, Sue, Shu, Peter and Rosemary will be joining imminently to lead the programming team through the next phase of ITV’s output. Each of them bring a blend of passion and experience to the roles and I’m confident that as a team we can continue to build on the raft of shows that help to make ITV Britain’s most popular commercial channel.”

Hill commented: “After 11 years at the BBC I am proud to be leaving it at the top of its game. ITV has always played a vital part in the landscape of British drama and shows such as Cracker, Prime Suspect and Band of Gold, had a huge influence on me and the drama I wanted to make. I am proud to be joining ITV and will lead the drama department into its next exciting chapter, making the very best popular drama, which will feel original, distinctive and authored. It’s a new journey for me and I can’t wait to start.”

Murphy, a former commissioning head at both Channel 4 and Channel 5, said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Kevin and the ITV team at such an exciting time. I have really enjoyed the past few years on the production front line at Optomen, but helping to reshape and evolve the factual footprint of a broadcasting institution like ITV is just an irresistible opportunity. I started my career at ITV {Granada} and I am really looking forward to commissioning and creating a new generation of ITV fact-ent formats and program brands.”

Greene said: “The chance to do the job in a completely new way is a huge reason why I wanted to do it. I love entertainment with all my heart and I want to help keep these shows shining brightly, whilst also getting a chance to create the new.”

Davey added: “It is the dream job. I’m lucky to be inheriting a wide portfolio of existing shows, the greatest talent on British television and a brief working together with the most creative producers to develop new and exciting hit shows. I can’t wait to start.”

Bellamy said: “Angela is a gifted creative leader with a fantastic track record in both production and commissioning. I’m delighted she is joining us as the new managing director of ITVS Entertainment—her appointment is testament to the fact we continue to attract and retain some of the very best creative minds in the industry. I would like to thank Shu for her brilliant leadership of our entertainment team, she concludes her time here with a cracking series of Saturday Night Takeaway, a fantastic way to sign off at ITVS.”

Jain remarked: “I have had a blast working with some of the very best in the business, commissioning shows like The Keith Lemon Sketch Show, Weekender and The Big Reunion and award-winning series like Plebs and Release The Hounds. Securing Family Guy for ITV2 was a channel defining moment. Whilst I leave behind some very talented colleagues who I will miss dearly, it’s the perfect time for me to jump to the other side and start a new adventure. I will get to put into practice all of those things I have been asking other producers to do, for years! And fortunately I am not going too far.”

Newell said: “I am excited to be joining ITV, to be back in channel management and to be working again with Kevin and his team. It’s a great opportunity to be part of such a strong and successful portfolio.”