Sunday, January 10, 2016

British Producer Mal Young Working at 'The Young and the Restless'

Mal Young
On Friday, prolific British producer Mal Young tweeted that he had finished his first week at CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. It appears he has joined the show in some capacity.

"End of week one and loving my new @YandR_CBS family," Young tweeted on Friday, a week after his New Year's mention of Y&R. "This year I'm going to be Young and I'm going to be Restless."

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.

Y&R has not announced what role Young, who splits his time between London and L.A., will have with the show. He could be anything from a new producer to a short-term story consultant. Whatever the case, it's a good sign that daytime's top-rated drama is looking for fresh ideas.

In June 2015, Young appeared on the Gallifrey Stands podcast. Listen to his interview below.

In 2013, he discussed his career during a visit to Glasgow Caledonian University.

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