Another exec producer goes independent

Another executive producer at the BBC, Farah Durrani, has left the BBC to work for the independent sector.

George Entwistle, the BBC’s head of current affairs, said: “Farah has been a determined and passionate film-maker, who’s made a big contribution to the success of the department. She has secured some remarkable access across a range of programmes; I know she’ll be missed but I am confident her talents will secure her well in the independent sector”.

Her move comes less than a month after Fiona Stourton, also an executive producer in current affairs, left to join Bob Geldof’s television production company, Ten Alps, as director of drama documentary and factual subsidiaries Blakeway and 3BM TV.

Both exits come as the BBC continues to reduce staff numbers as part of director general Mark Thompson’s costcutting regime.

Many staff are also being tempted to join the independent sector as a result of the corporation’s Window of Creative Competition initiative (WOCC). The BBC already awards 25 per cent of its production to independent companies — WOCC puts a further 25 per cent up for grabs, guaranteeing only 50 per cent in-house production by the BBC.

When the BBC announced the initiative, John McVay, head of the Producer’s Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT), the UK trade association that represents the commercial interests of independent television production companies, said: “The ultimate benefactors of a more competitive market for programmes within the BBC will be, and should be, the licence-fee payer.

“The BBC has responded to PACT’s issues and concerns and has engaged with the issues around the need for a meritocratic commissioning system.”

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