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BBC Shuffles Posts Following Worldwide Merger, Appoints Wales Drama Commissioner

The BBC is seeing out the year with a raft of changes at the top of its newly consolidated BBC Studios production and distribution operation and the appointment of a new senior drama commissioner.

On the scripted side, Ben Irving has been named BBC Drama’s commissioning editor for Wales, as Welsh-based production continues to ramp up. Already the home of core BBC franchises “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock,” Wales has become a vibrant production hub in the U.K., with Pinewood and Bad Wolf among those running studios there.

Irving replaces Christopher Aird. Irving joined the BBC from “Paddington” producer Heyday Films in May, and there is a “Sherlock” connection in that he worked on Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” films during a stint in development at Warner Bros. His BBC slate includes much-anticipated drama series “Giri/Haji,” which is a BBC-Netflix co-production, as well as the TV adaptation of “His Dark Materials,” which is being produced by Jane Tranter’s Bad Wolf.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Wales, said: “We’re all looking forward to seeing his success on screen over the coming years, building on Wales’ reputation as an international center of drama production.”

Meanwhile, the executive structure at BBC Studios is taking shape after the pubcaster said last month that it was combining its production division with its commercial unit, BBC Worldwide, creating one of the biggest integrated TV operations in the world.

Two senior staffers at BBC Worldwide will take roles at the merged operation, and two from the previous BBC Studios business. Tom Fussell will be CFO of the new combined BBC Studios, having held the same role at BBC Worldwide. Laura McGaughey, who was CFO at the old BBC Studios, is leaving to join Sony Pictures Television.

Anna Mallett, COO at the former BBC Studios, will take that role at the new merged operation and will also be managing director of production. Martyn Freeman will serve as general counsel and Jabbar Sardar as HR director.

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