The powerful role of the BBC’s Head of Drama is currently available and, rather than having potential candidates duke it out inside the BBC’s thunderdome, the potential new head is being sourced from a flagship show – Doctor Who.
The Radio Times has it on good authority that former Doctor Who executive producer Piers Wenger – who now runs Channel 4’s drama department – and Faith Penhale, the former head of drama at BBC Wales, are both on a BBC wish-list for the job which commands a drama budget of around £300m per year.
Penhale had overseen Doctor Who in her past role while Wenger was instrumental in the casting of Matt Smith in the role of the Eleventh Doctor when he was executive producer from 2009 to 2011.
The position became available after former head Polly Hill defected to ITV to become their Head of Drama after just 11 months in the role.
The job is currently being filled on an interim basis by Lucy Richer, the BBC executive who oversaw the TV adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, but it is understood that she has ruled herself out of the running.
A source at the BBC said:
“These are the names that are currently circulating around the BBC at the moment. At this stage it’s a wish list but they are certainly the leading candidates as far as the BBC is concerned.”