The BBC has appointed a head of documentaries, bringing back a role scrapped four years ago when the factual and learning division was overhauled.
Documentary-maker Alan Hayling, former Channel 4 commissioning editor and editorial director of the short-lived News on Sunday newspaper, takes up the post after a fivemonth search by the BBC.
Reporting to Anne Morrison, controller of documentaries and contemporary factual, he will have editorial responsibility for documentaries made in London and will work closely with the Birmingham and Bristol centres.
Of the selection process Morrison said: “We’ve taken our time in making this appointment because we knew we had to hold out for the right person, and I know Alan is that person.
He’s got a fantastic track record in making and commissioning documentaries and I’m sure he will bring with him an injection of freshness and creativity to our talented team.”
Hayling is currently director of development at Mentorn, which produces BBC One’s Question Time and some editions of the Channel 4 current affairs documentary strand Dispatches. He began his career as a BBC general trainee before leaving to set up his own production companies.
In 1992 he co-directed Drowning by Bullets, a film exposing the untold story of the murder of Algerians by the Paris police in 1961.
At Channel 4, he commissioned documentary series such as Secret History, Secret Lives, Short Stories, Undercover Britain, Football Stories and Hidden Love.
By Wale Azeez