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The BBC is looking for a new comedy chief as incumbent Shane Allen returns to the indie sector after 17 years in commissioning.

Allen is to stand down as comedy director to head fledgling indie Boffola Pictures, which was set up by his recently-departed colleague, former head of comedy Kate Daughton. The company, backed by BBC Studios’ Lookout Point, will focus on scripted comedy and comedy-drama.

The BBC comedy team has also recently lost commissioning editors Sarah Asante and Alex Moody, who joined UKTV and Sky respectively. Tanya Qureshi, AP on Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, has since joined as Moody’s successor, while Ben Caudell has stayed with the team following a period of maternity cover.

Scripted comedy will come under BBC entertainment director Kate Phillips’ remit until Allen’s successor is found.

Allen joined the BBC in 2012 and was previously at Channel 4 for eight years as a commissioner and latterly head of comedy. Talent he nurtured at C4, such as Peter Kay, Kayvan Novak, Morgana Robinson and Matt Berry, have continued to work with him at the BBC. Berry’s C4 comedy Toast of London is set to transfer to the BBC for its latest iteration, Toast of Tinseltown.

Notable BBC comedy hits under Allen include BBC3’s Fleabag, Young Offenders and This Country, BBC1’s Ghosts and Peter Kay’s Car Share and BBC2’s Motherland and Inside No 9.

Allen also launched the new talent-focussed BBC Comedy Association, which runs the New Comedy Awards and the BBC’s recent ‘Festival of Funny’ season.

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