Mark Freeland has been appointed as the BBC's new head of comedy, replacing Jon Plowman who announced he was stepping down last month.

Mr Freeland will be in charge of in-house comedy production across all four of the BBC's networks as well as radio comedy.

Previously Mr Freeland was head of comedy commissioning from 2002 to 2005 and dealt with comedy series' such as The Mighty Boosh, The Catherine Tate Show, Alistair McGowan's Big Impression and Mock the Week.

Mr Plowman will be returning to programme-making after 14 years in the job having overseen the production of The Office, Little Britain and The Thick of It.

On his new role, Mr Freeland said: "I am very excited to be going back to the BBC as head of comedy.

"I am looking forward to leading a department that has an incredible heritage, an exciting present and a future of outstanding potential."

The BBC comedy department is currently working on a range of high-profile new programmes, including a Christmas special of Extras, a second series of That Mitchell and Webb Look and The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle, written by Jennifer Saunders.

Peter Salmon, chief creative officer at BBC Vision, said: "Mark is stepping into one of the great jobs in British TV and radio.

"He is a much respected figure in the industry and brings with him a wealth of experience and relationships from across the UK production sector that will prove vital for one of the key creative jobs in the entire BBC."

17/07/2007 16:44:28