"There are so many cooks involved in any new project now that any distinctiveness is being throttled," says another, Bafta-winning writer. "Such is the lack of courage of commissioners and the climate of fear in which they operate, the commissioning process is ossifying."McLean puts these concerns to BBC Ben Stephenson, head of drama commissioning.
The only opinion that these writers and producers say matters is that of Jane Tranter, the BBC's head of Fiction. One writer, who like the rest asked to remain anonymous, claims that trust between the BBC and writers and producers who deliver the goods has evaporated.
"They commission an episode, you write seven drafts, probably with input from four different BBC producers - all of whom contradict one another - and then, instead of making a decision, they commission a second episode and then often a third, even for a second series. They're so scared of getting it wrong, they'd rather play it safe. There is only one question in everyone's head, whether it be writer, independent producer or BBC exec - what would Jane think?"
"Ultimately the decision on what is made is made between me, Jane and the channel controller, but in terms of what's developed, there's a genuine diversity of voices which there wouldn't be if Jane and me developed things ourselves ...[Jane] isn't the taste-maker, she really isn't. My feeling is 'thank God we have a lot of commissioning editors' because that genuinely means that one person doesn't rule."