Willis appointed BBC Director of Factual & Learning
Director-General Greg Dyke has appointed John Willis as the BBC's
Director of Factual & Learning, it was announced today (Tuesday
8 April 2003).
a former Channel 4 Director of Programmes and Chief Executive of
United Productions, will join the BBC's Executive Committee in June.
He will report directly to Greg Dyke.
Dyke said today: "John is one of the most creative, respected
and well-liked people in British television.
knowledge and experience will be a great asset to the BBC and to
the future direction and innovation of the BBC's factual and educational
Vice President in charge of National Programming at WGBH in Boston,
the biggest station in the public service network in the United
States, John said he is looking forward to returning to the UK and
joining the BBC.
have enjoyed a remarkable time working with WGBH at the heart of
American public broadcasting," he said.
the chance to join the BBC and lead one of its major production
divisions is enticing. It has a worldwide reputation and I'm looking
forward to joining Greg and the executive committee soon."
co-productions between the BBC and WGBH include The Lost Prince;
an American history series presented by Richard Holmes and several
editions of Horizon.
began his career as a documentary maker at Yorkshire Television
winning awards for groundbreaking programmes like Johnny Go Home
and Rampton - the Secret Hospital.
later edited the innovative documentary strand First Tuesday.
Channel 4's Controller of Factual Programmes he created successful
new strands like Cutting Edge, True Stories and Secret History.
Director of Programmes he oversaw the production of innovative series
like Father Ted and Rory Bremner, and film successes like Four Weddings
and a Funeral and Trainspotting.
also guided Channel 4's entry into schools broadcasting and was
Chairman of Channel 4 Learning.
Channel 4, John became Chief Executive of United Productions where
he built a fast-growing production division including Hornblower
and Oliver Twist.
Granada bought United, he was appointed Managing Director of London
Weekend and United Productions.
2001, he won the prestigious Royal Television Society Gold Medal
for Creative Contribution to Television.
Factual & Learning Directorship became available when Glenwyn
Benson was appointed to the new role of Controller, Factual TV.
Glenwyn will continue in the F&L director's role - which she
shared with Michael Stevenson before his departure in January -
until John Willis joins.
Benson appointed BBC TV's overarching factual commissioning head
Stevenson decides to leave the BBC (29.01.03)
is a division of over 2,000 creative people working in Bristol,
Birmingham, Manchester, Milton Keynes and London, across the full
range of media - television, radio and online/interactive.
has an annual level of business of approximately £300 million
- most of which is funded by the licence fee.
also has commercial and public sector partnerships - significantly
Discovery and the Open University - who also co-fund and fully-fund
division makes content for: BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC THREE, BBC FOUR
and the UK TV joint-venture channels; Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4;
for BBCi - across the range of interactive and online content.