Fifth Season hires BBC’s former acting drama chief as UK creative director

Killing Eve

CJ ENM-owned Fifth Season (fka Endeavor Content) has hired the former acting director of drama at the BBC to work across its UK output.

Ben Irving takes the new role of creative director of UK television at recently rebranded Fifth Season and will join in November, with a remit to lead its production and development team.

He will work across existing UK-based development projects as well as building global series with third-party creatives at Fifth Season, which has been behind series such as Killing Eve, The Night Manager and Normal People.

Ben Irving

Irving was most recently overseeing drama on an interim basis at the BBC, following the exit of Piers Wenger to A24. The full-time role was handed to former Netflix exec Lindsay Salt in July.

Irving had joined the UK pubcaster in 2017 as head of development, moving up to work as commissioning editor from 2018-2022. His exec producer credits include His Dark Materials, Sherwood, Giri/Haji and Industry, among numerous others.

Prior to that, Irving was VP of development and production at David Heyman’s production company Heyday Films, and he also had stints at Warner Bros. Pictures in London.

Joe Hipps, EVP of TV production & development at Fifth Season, said: “As we continue our plans to expand the studio across the globe, Ben is the key ingredient we were looking for.

“His prolific experience, strategic sensibilities, long-standing creative relationships and exceptional taste for great programs will be instrumental as our presence grows in the UK.”

Irving added: “[Fifth Season] has always had a strong international focus, and together 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.”

In related news, the BBC’s head of drama development Tom Lazenby and commissioning editor Manda Levin are also exiting the pubcaster, according to UK trade Broadcast. They join former BBC film chief Rose Garnett on the recent departures list – Garnett joined A24 at the same time as Wenger’s exit.

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