|Jill Farren Phelps has been replace as executive producer at Y&R |
by Mal Young.
Co-executive producer and head writer Chuck Pratt is still in place, but Daytime Confidential's Jamey Giddens is reporting that the much-maligned Pratt may be on his way out as well. After many years, the masterpiece creation of soap opera icon William J. Bell may finally be in good hands.
From 1997-2004, Young served as Controller of Continuing Drama Series for the BBC's in-house production arm. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the network's continuing episodic drama series, including EastEnders, Doctor Who, Doctors (which he co-created), Casualty, Holby City (which he created). He also created Family Affairs for Channel 5.
The Liverpool native was very familiar with the soap opera genre when he came to work for the BBC, having spent 12 years, starting in the early 1980s working in every job at one time or another for Brookside, which launched on Channel 4 in November 1982. Brookside was praised for tackling tough issues, such as child abuse and rape, and received notoriety for a lesbian kiss.
While working as BBC Controller, Young shared his thoughts on what makes a successful soap.
"I made my name making popular dramas. When I got to this department, I decided to put the two biggest shows [Casualty is the other] at the centre. The biggest show, EastEnders is [made] 17 miles away at the [BBC Elstree] studio. Although it's still physically 17 miles away, it's in our hearts and minds. The trick behind a successful soap-don't employ anyone there who doesn't believe passionately in it."
In 2004, Young was honored at the British Soap Awards for his "creative contribution to British soap." At the end of 2004, he became Head of Drama at independent production company 19Television Limited, part of Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment.
In a 2011 story for BBC News about the decline of the daytime soap opera genre in the United States, Young said he "US viewers would buy into a Coronation Street or EastEnders set in small town America. I think they're ready to go on story-telling journeys in drama and see themselves"
"I think we might be seeing the end of an era," added Young, who was developing a new primetime soap opera in Los Angeles at the time. "Ratings for these shows are dropping, especially amongst younger female viewers - and making reality shows is cheaper. "It sends out a warning sign that you can never take the audience for granted."
In the past year, Young has worked as a story consultant for BBC Scotland soap River City.