Television

Mark Freeland to head BBC's comedy division

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster BBC has announced that Mark Freeland is to take up one of the key creative roles at the organisation as the head of comedy for Vision Studios.

This area has produced shows like Only Fools And Horses, The Office, Little Britain and The Thick Of It.

Freeland joins from Hartswood Films and takes up his post in September, bringing with him over 20 years of experience in TV and comedy. He will be in charge of in-house comedy production across all four television networks as well as radio comedy and entertainment, working with some of Britian's most acclaimed producers, writers and performers.

Between 2002 and 2005, Mark was head of comedy commissioning at the BBC, and responsible for commissioning, executive producing and developing comedy across the four BBC channels – working closely with in-house and independent production teams. Series included Nighty Night, The Catherine Tate Show and The Kumars At No 42.

Freeland will take up his job at BBC Television Centre on 3 September, replacing Jon Plowman who last month announced he was stepping down to return to programme-making with the BBC after 14 years at the helm.

BBC Vision chief creative officer Peter Salmon said, "Mark is stepping into one of the great jobs in British TV and radio. He is a much respected figure in the industry and brings with him a wealth of experience and relationships from across the UK production sector that will prove vital for one of the key creative jobs in the entire BBC. Under Mark, comedy will continue to grow as one of the powerhouses of in-house BBC production."

BBC Comedy Studio is currently making a wide range of programmes for all networks from the likes of Jam And Jerusalem and The Life And Times Of Vivienne Vyle from the pen of Jennifer Saunders, a Christmas special of Extras from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, a second series of That Mitchell And Webb Look for BBC Two, to newer titles like Spacehopper and The Visit.

Freeland said, "I am very excited to be going back to the BBC as head of comedy. I am looking forward to leading a department that has an incredible heritage, an exciting present and a future of outstanding potential.I wish I could have it both ways, as I am enormously grateful to Hartswood Films and will miss the Vertues' unique talent, experience and generous guidance."

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