Drama chief quits BBC as new ways make his life a misery
Media Editor, reports.
If only the BBC could make a drama about its own drama department, whose perpetual internal tensions yet again exploded into public view yesterday.
The man credited with some of the corporation's finest creative successes is poised to quit. Michael Wearing, head of drama serials, who brought Boys from the Blackstuff, Our Friends in the North and Pride and Prejudice to our screens, along with Common as Muck and House of Cards, claims that it is "creatively impossible" to remain in his post because "rampant commercialisation" has made his life "a misery".
His scathing comments instantly sent the drama department's spindoctors at Television Centre into a spin. They did everything in their power to limit the damage, claiming that Mr Wearing was annoyed because the new controller of BBC1, Peter Salmon, had refused to commission a project on which he was keen - an adaptation of a crime novel by Janet Neel.
Whilst acknowledging that he is the doyen of television drama, they pointed out that he is 59 and has lined up other work outside the corporation. They issued a terse statement: "Michael is due to retire next year and is obviously discussing his future plans outside the BBC, so he may have to go sooner rather than later."
BBC bosses are obviously starting to find Mr Wearing's outspokenness more than a bit wearing. "I think the most significant point to note is that his comments were made at a party," was the response from a spokesman who obviously doesn't need any lessons from Peter Mandelson in the black art of character assassination.
The Stage, the actors' trade paper, reported Mr Wearing's comments which were made at a recent party to celebrate the British presence at the forthcoming Banff International Television Festival in Canada. But several other (apparently very sober) leading television dramatists were swift to echo his damning criticisms yesterday. Trevor Griffiths told The Independent: "Michael Wearing is in the great tradition of BBC drama producers. The thought that he's been driven out of the corporation by its new commercial ethos is appalling."
Mr Griffiths, it should be said, crossed swords with BBC apparatchiks himself recently when his drama commemorating the anniversary of Nye Bevan's birth was downgraded to a graveyard slot on BBC2. The legendary Labour politician was portrayed by Brian Cox, who was so incensed by the treatment of the film that penned a powerful polemic for The Independent on Sunday denouncing the "dumbing down" of BBC drama.
Michael Wearing was given a special Bafta award last year in recognition of his outstanding creative contribution to television. Even the BBC spindoctors acknowledged yesterday that "the shows he makes cause waves and create talking points". They must be praying that one project he doesn't have in mind is a drama about the BBC drama department.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...