Vet TV exec to head U.K. indie Mentorn

Willis intends to beef up entertainment output

LONDON — British TV topper John Willis, who recently left the BBC after becoming frustrated by a wave of cuts in his department, will take over as head of U.K. indie Mentorn.

Willis, who has held key positions at Blighty’s Channel 4 and WGBH Boston, will also be creative director of Mentorn’s owner, Tinopolis.

Willis provides a much-needed boost for Tinopolis, which has been experiencing difficulties as senior staff have quit since it took over leading U.K. indie the Television Corp. in January.

Willis, who begins his new job on Monday, intends to broaden Mentorn’s activities and make a new drive into entertainment.

“Mentorn has a fantastic reputation in current affairs, documentaries and drama-documentaries,” he said, “but we need to broaden the base even more.

“It hasn’t made popular drama before, but I would like to see us get to a point where it is making six-parters or longer-running returnable series.

“Mentorn also used to make a lot of entertainment, and we need to get that back on the front burner again.”

Willis was the BBC’s director of factual and learning for three years before quitting earlier this fall.

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