Tom McDonald is to step up to become acting head of science and natural history commissions at the BBC, replacing Kim Shillinglaw who has started in her role as BBC2 controller.

McDonald, who has been at the BBC since 2012, is currently natural history, science and documentaries commissioning editor and will assume Shillinglaw’s responsibilities while a permanent replacement is found.

He recently commissioned BBC2 docs An Hour To Save Your Life (pictured) and Meet The Puppies.

Shillinglaw, who landed the BBC2 controller role in April, assumed her new position on 19 May.

She joins BBC2 having commissioned factual dramas including RTS Award-winning The Challenger and the upcoming Castles InThe Sky, Trust Me I’m A Doctor and the Bafta Award-winning Frozen Planet and Horrible Histories.

Shillinglaw, who will also head up BBC4, is known for her direct, “un-BBC-like” approach, according to industry executives.

She is thought to be likely to bring more “entertainment sensibility” to the 9pm slot, where her predecessor Janice Hadlow tended to schedule factual programming.

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