John Yorke (producer)

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John Yorke
Born John Roland Clifford Yorke
(1962-07-09) 9 July 1962 (age 56)
Stepney, London, England
Alma mater Newcastle University
Occupation Television Producer, script editor
Years active 1994–present
Employer BBC / Channel 4
Television EastEnders (2000–2002, 2005, 2017–2019)

John Roland Clifford Yorke (born 9 July 1962)[1][2] is a British television producer who has been the Executive Consultant and de facto Executive Producer of EastEnders since November 2017. He was previously Executive Producer of EastEnders from 2000 to 2002 and 2005.[3]

Career[edit]

Background[edit]

Yorke attended Newcastle University.[4] He joined the BBC in 1986, working initially in radio as a studio manager and then as a producer on BBC Radio 5.[5]

Early career - the 1990s and EastEnders[edit]

In 1994, he moved to television, working as a script editor on EastEnders before becoming storyline consultant on Casualty. In 1999, after a brief period as producer on Sunburn [6] starring Michelle Collins,[6] he took on the executive producer role on EastEnders.[7] During his time there, he was given the task of introducing the soap's fourth weekly episode and managed a win over long-running rival Coronation Street in a rare head-to-head showdown.[citation needed]

He axed the majority of the Di Marco family and helped introduce popular characters such as the Slater family.[7] As what Mal Young described as "two of EastEnders most successful years", Yorke was responsible for big ratings winners such as "Who Shot Phil?", Ethel Skinner's death, Jim Branning and Dot Cotton's marriage, abusive Trevor Morgan, and Kat Slater's revelation to her daughter Zoe that she was her mother.[7] Yorke was also responsible for Kim Medcalf being cast in the role of Sam Mitchell in January 2002, after Danniella Westbrook's drug addiction left her unsuitable for the role.[7]

The 2000s[edit]

In May 2002 he left the soap for a senior position under Mal Young in the BBC's in-house Drama Series team, but soon after he left to work for Channel 4 as the Head of Drama in 2003.[8] There he commissioned successful shows such as Shameless, Sex Traffic and the acclaimed Omagh.[3] In 2005 it was announced he would return to the BBC, taking over Mal Young's position, as Controller of BBC Drama Series, and, in addition, Co-Head of Independent Drama Commissioning (i.e. programmes made for the BBC by independent production companies, rather than in-house).[8]

One of the reasons he returned was to set around reversing the fortunes of EastEnders, which had been receiving low ratings in comparison to the past. The results were mixed. As Controller of Continuing Drama Series, he has been ultimately responsible for overseeing some of the most popular programmes on British television, including EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City and Doctors. [8]

In 2009 he was made Controller of the newly formed BBC Drama Production – a merger of Continuing Series and Series and Serials.[citation needed] While at the BBC, Yorke has been Commissioning Editor/Executive Producer for Life on Mars, Robin Hood, Bodies, The Street, A Class Apart, Waterloo Road and HolbyBlue, as well as looking after various series of Spooks, Hustle and New Tricks.

The 2010s[edit]

In 2010 Yorke's job title was changed to that of Controller Continuing Drama Production Studios. He works alongside Kate Harwood. He reports to Nicolas Brown, Director of Television Drama Production. He is executive producer of the Internet spin-off EastEnders: E20 and BBC daytime drama, Land Girls.[9]

In March 2012 Yorke became Acting Editor of long-running radio soap The Archers while Vanessa Whitburn takes long service leave.[10]

He left the BBC again later in 2012. In 2013, he was an executive producer of Truckers and Skins, and the following year, The Missing.[citation needed]

He was a regular writer on Red Rock, writing six episodes between 2015 and 2016.

He also wrote two episodes of Casualty between 2016 and 2017.

Return to EastEnders[edit]

In June 2017, it was announced that EastEnders executive producer, Sean O'Connor had stepped down and would be temporarily replaced by Yorke as executive consultant.[11] Yorke announced that he would be staying with the show for a year, longer than his original three months he was contracted to.[citation needed]

Into The Woods[edit]

Outside of television production, Yorke also authored Into The Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story, a writing guide that proposed a five act structure to film and television narrative, tying it back into classical mythology and playwriting techniques. The book draws extensively from Yorke's own research and experience, using examples from projects such as EastEnders and Spooks.[12] This has since spun off into seminars and classes, taught by Yorke.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  2. ^ "John Roland Clifford YORKE - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk.
  3. ^ a b "John Yorke". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  4. ^ News - English Literature, Language and Linguistics - Newcastle University Archived January 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Team - John Yorke". John Yorke Story. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  6. ^ a b "My First Television Drama Commission – Composing for TV - Sheridan Tongue". Sheridan Tongue. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  7. ^ a b c d Lindsay, Duncan (24 June 2017). "10 storylines which prove that EastEnders will be in great hands with John Yorke after boss Sean O'Connor leaves". Metro. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "BBC - John Yorke, Former Controller of Drama Production and New Talent - Inside the BBC". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-11-28.
  9. ^ "Mobilising Land Girls". Writers' Guild of Great Britain. 24 September 2009. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011.
  10. ^ Davies, Keri (29 February 2012). "Acting Archers editor". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  11. ^ "EastEnders confirms producer is leaving immediately". Digital Spy. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  12. ^ "About Into the Woods".

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Matthew Robinson
Executive Producer of EastEnders
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Louise Berridge
Preceded by
Kathleen Hutchison
Executive Producer of EastEnders
Acting

2005
Succeeded by
Kate Harwood
Preceded by
Sean O'Connor
as Executive Producer of EastEnders
Executive Consultant of EastEnders
2017-2018
Succeeded by
Kate Oates
as Executive Producer of EastEnders