John Yorke (producer)

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John Yorke
Nationality British
Alma mater Newcastle University
Occupation TV Producer, script editor
Years active 1994–present
Employer BBC / Channel 4
Television EastEnders (2000–2002, 2005, 2017–)

John Yorke is a British television producer.


Yorke attended Newcastle University.[1] He joined the BBC in 1986, working initially in radio as a studio manager and then as a producer on BBC Radio 5.[citation needed]

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 starring Michelle Collins, he took on the executive producer role on EastEnders.[citation needed] 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. 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.[citation needed] Yorke was also responsible for the recasting of Sam Mitchell in January 2002.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] There he commissioned successful shows such as Shameless, Sex Traffic and the acclaimed Omagh.[citation needed] 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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[2]

In March 2012 Yorke became Acting Editor of long-running radio soap The Archers while Vanessa Whitburn takes long service leave.[3]

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]

In June 2017 it was announced that EastEnders executive producer, Sean O'Connor had stepped down and would be temporarily replaced by Yorke as creative director.[4]


  1. ^ News - English Literature, Language and Linguistics - Newcastle University Archived January 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Mobilising Land Girls". Writers' Guild of Great Britain. 24 September 2009. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Davies, Keri (29 February 2012). "Acting Archers editor". BBC. Retrieved 1 March 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ "EastEnders confirms producer is leaving immediately". Digital Spy. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Matthew Robinson
Executive Producer of EastEnders
2005 (acting)
2017 (acting)
Succeeded by
Louise Berridge
Preceded by
Kathleen Hutchison
Succeeded by
Kate Harwood
Preceded by
Sean O'Connor
Succeeded by