Alma mater Newcastle University
Education Newcastle University
TV shows EastEnders
|Name John Yorke|
Role Television producer
Years active 1994–present
Employer BBC / Channel 4
|Occupation TV Producer, script editor|
Awards British Academy Television Award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama
Nominations Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Limited Series
Similar Lorraine Newman, Mal Young, Julia Smith, Tony Holland, Jon East
John Yorke is a British television producer.
Yorke attended Newcastle University. He joined the BBC in 1986, working initially in radio as a studio manager and then as a producer on BBC Radio 5.
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. 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.
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. Yorke was also responsible for the recasting of Sam Mitchell in January 2002.
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. There he commissioned successful shows such as Shameless, Sex Traffic and the acclaimed Omagh. 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).
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.
In 2009 he was made Controller of the newly formed BBC Drama Production – a merger of Continuing Series and Series and Serials. 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.
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.
In March 2012 Yorke became Acting Editor of long-running radio soap The Archers while Vanessa Whitburn takes long service leave.
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.
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. In September 2017, it was announced that Yorke had axed the characters of Lauren and Abi Branning, who are set to depart over the Christmas period.