Hayling to quit BBC for indie sector

BBC head of documentaries Alan Hayling has announced he is leaving the BBC the day after he won an award for best single documentary from the Royal Television Society for his film Children of Beslan.

Hayling is leaving the corporation to set up his own production company. In an email sent to staff, BBC director of factual and learning John Willis said: “He [Hayling] leaves an excellent legacy for F&L and the wider BBC, having expanded the output of the department across all channels and into a wide range of styles; from moving single documentaries for BBC2 such as Children of Beslan, to documentary series on Daytime like Paul Watson’s series Strutting Our Stuff, and on BBC4 with the recently commissioned eight-part series on Chelsea Hospital.”

Hayling said: “Over the past two years I’ve immensely enjoyed working with a really creative team of documentary makers on some truly innovative and successful projects.

“I’m sorry to be leaving but I feel that the time is right for me to return to the indie sector,” he added. “Of course, I fully expect to continue working closely with the BBC and hopefully contribute to its outstanding reputation in documentary television.”

Willis was forced to make structural changes in response to director general Mark Thompson’s cost-cutting plans at the corporation. The BBC has acknowledged that Hayling made his decision to leave following changes to the department.

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