Former Doctor Who boss Piers Wenger gets BBC’s top drama job

Channel 4 head of drama takes over from Polly Hill at the BBC - to be replaced in his old job by another former Doctor Who alumnus Beth Willis

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Piers Wenger, the man who played a key role in giving the keys of the Tardis to Matt Smith, has landed the job of controller of BBC drama commissioning.

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Wenger, who is currently head of drama at Channel 4, will be responsible for commissioning across the whole of the BBC portfolio, overseeing more than 450 hours of drama a year including hit shows Doctor Who, Sherlock and EastEnders.

He said of his new role: “I have had an unforgettable and brilliant time at C4 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.”

Wenger has been head of drama at Channel 4 since 2012, commissioning original scripted drama across both C4 and E4 and overseeing shows including Indian Summers, Paul Abbott’s No Offence and Humans.

Before that he 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 will take up his new role in the Autumn after being one of the favourites for the job which became vacant when Polly Hill jumped ship to ITV.

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Beth Willis, another former Doctor Who executive, becomes C4’s head of drama after being Wenger’s deputy since 2012.