Collinson returns to Manchester to lead BBC drama base

Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson is to head a new BBC drama division in Manchester.

The move is part of the Corporation’s plans to create more programmes and have more staff based outside of London. Collinson will be tasked with developing links with on and off-screen talent in the region and with contributing shows to the BBC’s overall slate of drama.

In a statement issued today, the BBC said Collinson’s new role represented a commitment to “grow the drama slate across the BBC”. He will take up his new post when he completes work on the fourth series of Doctor Who.

Collinson will be joined by ITV producer Hilary Martin, who joins the new drama department as development executive.

BBC chief creative officer Peter Salmon said: “Phil Collinson is a terrific addition to a brilliant top team working on in-house drama throughout the UK. His signing reflects renewed ambition and confidence here at the end of a stunning spell of output.”

He added that BBC drama production was at “the top of its game” and said Collinson’s post marked the BBC’s commitment to Northern drama talent.

Collinson started his career in television in Manchester as script editor for drama serials at Granada, followed by stints working as story editor on shows such as Emmerdale and Peak Practice.

He said: “The chance to return home to Manchester and start something completely new is irresistible. Manchester has always been an amazing centre for excellence in drama production and the chance to establish a formal BBC drama base there, and build on the massive range of local talent, is incredibly exciting.”

Last week, BBC director general Mark Thompson pledged that the Corporation would make half of all its programmes and have half of all its staff outside London by 2016.

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