Danny Cohen to leave the BBC

Danny has done an extraordinary job over the last eight years at the BBC. In a world of intense competition and choice, he has further enhanced the BBC's reputation for quality programming that is full of ambition and creativity.Tony Hall, BBC Director-General
Date: 13.10.2015     Last updated: 13.10.2015 at 10.00
Category: Corporate
The BBC is announcing today that Danny Cohen, Director of Television, is leaving to pursue a new leadership challenge.

Danny Cohen said: "After eight wonderful years at the BBC, it is time for my next big challenge. BBC Television is on brilliant creative form. I feel very privileged to have led Television for the world's finest public service broadcaster and to have worked with so many smart and talented people. In particular, I'd like to thank my fantastic team across BBC Television, all the people who have been involved with making our programmes in the last few years, my colleagues on the Executive Board and Tony Hall, who I admire greatly. 

"In the last few weeks I've been approached about a number of exciting opportunities and I want to consider these in an open and transparent way.

"I'm very proud of the wide-ranging success of BBC Television under my leadership. In this period of intense competition we've reached 92 per cent of UK audiences every week, delivered outstanding channel services and built the number one digital service across the television industry in the BBC iPlayer. Throughout this time, we've delivered a fantastically rich slate of ground-breaking shows, thought-provoking ideas, national and international awards and global hits. We have made our audiences laugh, cry and think, and have made extraordinary imprints on our national culture and the BBC's international reputation. 

"There has never been a more exciting time for television and digital media. I'm looking forward to taking up a new leadership role in this age of intense creative and technological innovation." 

Tony Hall, Director-General, said: "Danny has done an extraordinary job over the last eight years at the BBC. In a world of intense competition and choice, he has further enhanced the BBC's reputation for quality programming that is full of ambition and creativity. 

"Danny has led the incredible resurgence of drama on the BBC, having commissioned or overseen shows like Happy Valley, Poldark, Last Tango In Halifax, Wolf Hall, Top Of The Lake, Peaky Blinders, Doctor Who and the forthcoming Dickensian and War And Peace. He has also made an outstanding contribution to comedy and entertainment, with shows such as Cradle To Grave, Peter Kay's Car Share, Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders and The Graham Norton Show. He also led BBC One's 2012 London Olympics coverage. That is one hell of a CV. 

"He is one of TV’s great talents. I know everyone who has worked with Danny has huge admiration for what he has delivered for the BBC. I want to wish him well for the future." 

Danny will leave the BBC at the end of November. Mark Linsey, Controller of Entertainment Commissioning, will take on Danny's responsibilities until an appointment is made. 

Notes to Editors 

1) As Director of BBC Television, Danny has been responsible for all of the BBC's Television Networks and BBC Productions - Europe's largest television production group. Danny's leadership of BBC Television has encompassed BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four, alongside the production and commissioning of all of the BBC's Drama, Entertainment, Comedy and Factual programmes. The role also includes creative leadership of BBC iPlayer - European broadcasting's most successful online player - and the BBC's cinema production through BBC Films. 

2) BBC Television output was watched by 92 per cent of the UK population in 2014. In 2015, BBC One won Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh Television Festival. In 2015, BBC Television won 11 BAFTAs - more than any other broadcaster - and in 2015, the BBC won 18 out of 28 awards at the Royal Television Society Awards. In 2012, BBC One had a record-breaking year with its largest ever growth in peak audience share and its first all-hours audience share growth on record. 

3) From 2007 to 2010, Danny was Controller of BBC Three, during which time the channel won Non-Terrestrial Channel of the Year at the Edinburgh TV Festival in two years out of three. His commissions for the channel included Being Human, Our War, Blood Sweat And Takeaways, Him And Her and Russell Howard's Good News. The channel grew its share of young audiences by 59 per cent in this period. Prior to joining the BBC, Danny was Head of E4 and before that Head of Channel 4 Documentaries. His commissions included Skins, The Inbetweeners, Fonejacker, Supernanny and the documentary strand Cutting Edge.

BBC Press Office