Hilary Martin

A new, more business focussed, creative team will be established in Salford as part of changes to the way the BBC produces in-house drama.

Seven producer and executive producer roles will be cut from in-house drama in England as part of changes to how the department operates.

Mark Freeland, controller of fiction and entertainment, said the proposals will enable drama production in England to become more flexible and dynamic in ‘a highly competitive and changing marketplace’.

“Right now and in the future, drama is such a key genre for BBC Production – in the UK and globally. We need to be in best shape in order to be flexible, fleet-of-foot and on fire, creatively,” Freeland reportedly told drama staff in an email this week.

The changes come following the appointment in the summer of a new head of BBC drama for the North – Hilary Martin.

She joined the BBC in 2008 and was previously was a producer at ITV, worked in the commissioning department at Sky and script edited shows such as No Angels and Linda Green.

Under the latest proposals, BBC drama production in England is said to be moving to a ‘development business model’ with two creative teams – in London and in Salford.

Hilary Salmon and Christopher Aird are new drama heads in London, while Martin is their counterpart in Salford. They replace Kate Harwood, who was head of drama in England.

Continuing drama series and daytime drama are unaffected by the proposed changes.BBC drama production is responsible for shows such as EastEnders, Doctors, Holby City, Casualty, Doctor Who and Our Girl.

It faces an uncertain future after director general Tony Hall proposed that it becomes a more commercial enterprise that competes for all BBC commissions and makes programmes for other broadcasters. Broadcasting union Bectu has been advised of the proposal.