BBC Factual Top Job: All Candidates Unsuccessful As Corporation Rethinks Role

EXCLUSIVE: The wait to discover the next BBC Factual, Arts and Classical Music director is to go on a little while longer.

In a dramatic U-turn, the BBC has notified the final candidates that none have been successful and Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore is now reconsidering the very nature of the role, Deadline understands, with no firm decision made as of yet.

The news was one of the hot topics at Sunday’s BAFTA afterparty, at which big names from the UK factual world were present, with Steve McQueen’s BBC One series Uprising winning Best Factual Series at the glitzy event.

We understand the final four candidates were notified very recently following a process that has taken several months after the revealed departure late last year of former incumbent Patrick Holland to production powerhouse Banijay.

The final crop of candidates, which are thought to have included Head of Documentary Commissioning Claire Sillery, Head of Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment Commissioning Catherine Catton and two external people, were understood to be told that the very nature of the role is being rethought, potentially considered too unwieldy for one person.

The job is arguably the biggest in British non-scripted, encompassing powerhouse natural history shows such as David Attenborough’s The Green Planet to hard-hitting documentaries including McQueen’s Uprising to competition series like Race Across the World.

The process to find Holland’s replacement will now likely restart, potentially with a new job spec. BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell will continue on an interim basis in the meantime.

Holland took on the mega Factual, Arts and Classical Music brief after he moved over from BBC Two Controller, when the BBC restructured the way in which it commissions content to take a genre-first approach instead of ordering shows by channel.

Holland’s former division is one of the BBC’s biggest, comprised of multiple commissioning editors reporting into Sillery, Catton and Head of Commissioning, Science & Natural History, Jack Bootle, who all reported to Holland.

Holland moved to Banijay to become Executive Chair late last month and has already taken on an expanded role that incorporates former CEO Lucinda Hicks’ duties.

The BBC declined to comment.

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