Wenger to replace Gardner as BBC Wales head of drama

BBC Wales head of drama Julie Gardner is to step down from the role in January 2009 and be replaced by Housewife, 49 producer Piers Wenger.

Wenger will also take over Gardner’s current job as executive producer of Doctor Who for the show’s fifth series.

He will join the BBC in the New Year and spend 12 months shadowing Gardner, who is to continue as executive producer of the fourth Doctor Who series, due to start next year, and the specials to be broadcast during 2009.

She will also continue to executive produce Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures for BBC Wales and work on the development and commissioning of new Saturday evening drama for BBC1.

BBC controller of fiction Jane Tranter said: “Julie Gardner is one of the most impressive television executives in the UK. Her work on Doctor Who has earned her a place in TV history and I’m delighted that she is committed to working across such a broad range of drama at the BBC for the next few years.”

Gardner, who joined BBC Wales from London Weekend Television in 2003, said she had been on “the trip of a lifetime” over the past five years and added: “I know that when I hand over my sonic screwdriver to Piers for season five of Doctor Who, it will be to someone who loves and understands the show.”

Wenger, who left his role as head of development at Granada Drama earlier this year to help set up independent company Mammoth Screen, said working with Gardner over the next 12 months would “provide an invaluable insight into the secrets and success of the series”.

He has just completed work on Ballet Shoes, Heidi Thomas’ adaptation of Noel Streatfeild’s novel that will be shown on Boxing Day on BBC1.

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