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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 16:58 GMT
New boss heads to Albert Square
Kathleen Hutchison axed the soap's unpopular Ferreira family
Kathleen Hutchison axed the soap's unpopular Ferreira family
The BBC has appointed a new executive producer for EastEnders.

Kate Harwood, who has been responsible for programmes including Crime And Punishment and Daniel Deronda, is stepping into the role.

In January, Kathleen Hutchison quit the show "by mutual consent" after just four months in the job.

The month also saw EastEnders draw its lowest audience share in more than five years with 6.8 million viewers tuning in to one episode.

However, more than 14 million people saw "Dirty" Den Watts killed off last week, according to early viewing figures.

'Creative force'

Ms Harwood said she was "very excited" to be taking up the challenge. "I've been a fan for many years and can't wait to meet the cast and to start working with the production team planning the show's future," she said.

Ms Harwood, who has been working on the forthcoming BBC One drama Elizabeth, The Virgin Queen, is expected to take up the EastEnders post within two weeks.

John Yorke, BBC controller for continuing drama series, said: "I am delighted that Kate will be joining the team.

"She has an excellent reputation across the industry, she understands how to tell stories and how to engage the viewer, it is a real coup for us to have her on board."

Laura Mackie, head of drama series and serials added: "Kate is one of the most talented creative forces in the drama community.

"She has consistently uncovered the very best new talent both on and off screen and I know she will relish the challenge and opportunity that EastEnders provides."

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