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Drama chief Piers Wenger and film head Rose Garnett to leave the BBC for A24

Director of drama Piers Wenger and director of film Rose Garnett are leaving the BBC to join Euphoria producer A24, signalling a major European move for the New York-based company.

Piers Wenger at C21’s Content London 2021

Wenger moved to the BBC from rival pubcaster Channel 4 in 2016, replacing Polly Hill after she left to join commercial broadcaster ITV.

He will leave the BBC in May and drama commissioning editor Ben Irving will take on the role of acting director of BBC Drama until an appointment is made.

Garnett will leave at the same time, with Eva Yates becoming acting director of BBC Film until a replacement is appointed.

Wenger’s credits during his tenure include The Tourist, The Responder, This is Going to Hurt, The Serpent, A Very British Scandal, His Dark Materials, Time, A Very English Scandal, Bodyguard, Gentleman Jack, Vigil, The Salisbury Poisonings, I May Destroy You and Normal People.

Garnett brought films including The Souvenir 1 & 2, Blue Story, Small Axe, The Nest, The Power of The Dog, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Judy, After Love, Ali & Ava Cow and People Just Do Nothing – Big in Japan to UK audiences.

Last year she expanded her department to include documentary strand Storyville under the new leadership of Philippa Kowarsky.

Wenger said: “After a decade as a drama commissioner it is high time I gave someone else a go.

“I am indebted to the BBC and the extraordinary range of writers, producers and directors it has been my privilege to work alongside. There are mountains to climb everywhere but I predict a magical time ahead for BBC Drama as the next generation of thinkers and taste-makers step up to shape its future.”

Rose Garnett

Garnett said: “The BBC is unparalleled as a place to make great work. Under the inspiring and generous leadership of [the BBC’s chief content officer] Charlotte Moore, myself and the Film Team have been able to discover, support and celebrate voices and stories from across the UK and beyond. The BBC Film team was the best team to be part of: dedicated, bold, passionate and rigorous. I know that the creative confidence and the imagination of the next generation of commissions and commissioners will produce wonderful films.”

Moore said: “Piers Wenger has been an outstanding director of drama over the last six years at the BBC. Under his inspirational leadership, BBC Drama has flourished, and at a time of intense competition, he has cemented the BBC’s reputation as the home of creative risk-taking and the most original, fearless and ambitious British storytelling. Piers is an exceptional creative with a huge regard for public service, an eye for both the popular and the profound and an appetite for complexity and provocation.

“His vision has delivered a scope and scale that’s truly unique to the BBC and he’s been responsible for commissioning a slate that’s both genre-busting and celebrates British authorship, identity and life in all its most diverse forms.”

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