New drama head at BBC

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The Independent Online
Colin Adams, the BBC's northern broadcasting head, has been picked to fill the long-empty top spot in the BBC's drama department.

Adams, who has been acting as head of the drama department along with director of production Alan Yentob for the last six months, has taken what some in the corporation have described as a poisoned chalice.

The BBC's last head of drama, Charles Denton, quit in May 1996 after overseeing a string of hits such as Hamish Macbeth and Ballykissangel. However, the failure of expensive serials such as Rhodes - which cost pounds 10m to make - Nostromo (above) and Ivanhoe has put the department under pressure to come up with a hit.

Insiders also say the role of drama head has become less attractive because of director general John Birt's latest restructuring of the BBC into Broadcasting and Production directorates.

Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of the BBC board of governors, pointedly criticised the delay in appointing a drama head and some of the drama department's output in front of journalists earlier this year.