Bryan Kirkwood will take over as EastEnders‘ executive producer when its current, award-winning boss Diederick Santer (pictured) steps down in 2010.

Kirkwood worked as Hollyoaks’ producer for three years and was previously a storyliner on Coronation Street for 10 years.

He said: “I’m a huge soap fan so for me to be the new executive producer of EastEnders is a dream come true.

“Diederick Santer has done an amazing job and I’ll be taking over a show at the top of its game – quite a daunting task, but one I can’t wait to get started on.”

Santer has been EastEnders’ executive producer since October 2006 and he also sits on the board of BBC Drama Production.

Under his guidance EastEnders has dominated awards ceremonies, frequently picking up Best Soap and Continuing Drama in the National Television, RTS, British Soap, Inside Soap and other awards shows.

He also recently announced the launch of an online spin-off, E20, to further heighten the show’s reach and appeal.

Santer has been responsible for the creation of the Mitchell Sisters and the Masood family, plus the long-awaited return of Ricky and Bianca.

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