The BBC has found a replacement for outgoing drama chief Ben Stephenson, who is exiting the corporation to take up post as the Head of Television for JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions in Los Angeles.
Polly Hill, who has been serving as the BBC’s Head of Independent Drama since 2011, has been appointed as the new Controller of Drama Commissioning – often hailed as one of the biggest and most important jobs in the UK TV industry. She will take up post effective immediately and will be working closely with Ben Stephenson to ensure a smooth transition. The appointment was announced by Danny Cohen, the BBC’s Director of Television.
“I’m delighted that Polly will be leading BBC Drama Commissioning. She has an exceptional track record for delivering outstanding drama”, said Cohen. “From Wolf Hall to Poldark and The Missing, Polly’s work speaks for itself and is driven by her passion for writing and storytelling. BBC Drama is in wonderful shape. We are determined to keep developing our reputation for dramatic range and quality, working with the very best established and emerging writers and being home to the most ambitious and risky projects.”
Polly Hill has been with the BBC since 2005, when she joined the corporation as an executive producer. She was subsequently promoted to commissioning editor in 2008, before ultimately being appointed as Head of Independent Drama in 2011. In that role, Poly Hill has been at the forefront of the BBC’s relationship with the indie community and had responsibility for such dramas as The Missing, The Honourable Woman, The Shadow Line, Accused, Ripper Street, The Village, Death In Paradise, Poldark and Wolf Hall.
“I am delighted and honoured to be taking over as the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning. Under Ben Stephenson’s leadership BBC Drama has thrived, it’s in an incredible place and I would like to personally thank him”, added Hill. “I look forward to steering BBC Drama into the future and building on this success, continuing to be the home of the most original and ambitious storytelling across a range of drama that is unique to the BBC.”
There is no denying that Polly Hill has big shoes to fill. Ben Stephenson has been responsible for some of the biggest and most successful British dramas of the past few years including including The Missing, The Fall, Line Of Duty, Sherlock, Luther and the upcoming “epic” War & Peace adaptation, which was recently picked up for US broadcast by A+E Network’s flagship channels History, A&E and Lifetime.