Last month’s RealScreen reported that structural changes at the BBC, implemented by director-general Greg Dyke, were expected to include the abolition of the Independent Commissioning Group, the division of factual programming into popular and blue chip docs, and the resignation of director of television Alan Yentob, who would be replaced by director of national and regional broadcasting Mark Thompson.
On April 3, the BBC revealed details of the much speculated changes and the Independent Commissioning Group was indeed disbanded. Contributions to the BBC from indies will now follow the same commissioning routes as in-house producers. In addition to this, there will be output guarantees for in-house departments.
Docs were placed under the banner of Factual and Learning, one of three new programming divisions – including Drama, Entertainment and Children; and Sport – that replace the BBC Productions directorate. Alan Yentob was appointed director of drama, entertainment and children’s. Mark Thompson was appointed director of television. Former BBC Production’s director of programs Lorraine Heggessey and Michael Stevenson, former director of education, are joint acting directors of factual and learning. Full implementation of the changes isn’t expected until the fall.