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BBC acting drama head Ben Irving has left to join Severance producer Fifth Season in a new role created to help the company shore up its UK slate.

Irving’s appointment as creative director, UK television at the international producer comes as former Netflix UK exec Lindsay Salt takes up the BBC drama chief role permanently from today.

Meanwhile, senior drama commissioning editor Manda Levin and drama development head of commissioning Tom Lazenby have also stood down from the BBC drama team.

Irving stepped up from drama commissioner when Piers Wenger left in March and in his five years at the BBC has been responsible for shows such as Sherwood, Gentleman Jack, Giri/Haji and Hartswood Films’ upcoming Inside Man, as well as family shows His Dark Materials and Doctor Who.

Formerly known as Endeavour Content, Fifth Season’s shows include 14-times Emmy-nominated Apple TV+ thriller Severance, plus Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers and HBO’s Scenes From a Marriage.

It also distributes BBC drama series including Killing Eve, Normal People and The Night Manager.

When he joins the Los Angeles studio's London base in November, Irving will lead a UK production and development team on current and future UK-based projects and global series delivered in collaboration with the British creative community.

Irving said: “We will build on their many successes to further ramp up the studio’s TV productions, continuing to support and empower the best creators and producers in the UK, and beyond, to tell stories that will resonate with global audiences.”

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