Yorke to head Company Pictures

Shingle producing HBO's 'Wolf Hall,' Starz's 'White Queen'


U.K. shingle Company Pictures, which is adapting Hilary Mantel best-seller “Wolf Hall” for HBO and the BBC, has tapped a new managing director.

He is seasoned BBC drama topper John Yorke, who will succeed founders George Faber and Charlie Pattinson next year.

Yorke is head of BBC drama production, overseeing soaps including the flagship soap “EastEnders.”

Company Pictures is part of the All3Media super-indie group, whose chairman Steve Morrison said that Yorke’s “passion and experience in series drama, and his work in developing new talent, will be an enormous asset to Company.”

The move comes at a significant time for the shingle, which needs to find a new generation of returning series following the demise of such shows as Channel 4’s edgy “Shameless,” and teen drama “Skins,” both of which have been adapted for the U.S. market.

There are high hopes for “Wolf Hall,” and another historical drama skein “The White Queen,” a 10-hour epic set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses in which England’s royal houses of Lancaster and York battled it our for regal supremacy, and which is being filmed in Belgium.

In the U.S. Starz has acquired the show. The BBC’s partners on “The White Queen” are Belgium’s BNP Paribas Fortis Film Fund and the Belgian broadcaster VRT.

Faber and Pattinson are likely to remain at Company until the New Year when they will leave to form a new indie, backed but not wholly owned by All3Media.

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