Piers Wenger is to become the beeb’s new Controller of Drama Commissioning.
“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.” – Charlotte Moore, BBC Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer
Wenger 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.
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. Piers will take up his new role in the Autumn. At Channel 4 Beth Willis has been appointed Wenger’s replacement as Head of Drama after a competitive process – Beth has been Channel 4’s Deputy Head of Drama since 2012.
“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