Sioned Wiliam appointed as Radio 4’s new Commissioning Editor for Comedy

I am thrilled to be returning to Radio 4 to work with some of the best talent in British comedy and hope to do justice to the amazing legacy left by Caroline Raphael.Sioned Wiliam
Date: 19.01.2015     Last updated: 13.02.2015 at 15.09
Sioned Wiliam has been appointed as the new Commissioning Editor for Comedy, BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Wiliam will be responsible for the overall development and editorial direction of Radio 4’s comedy output, which is listened to by 5.26 million people weekly.

In her new role, Wiliam will commission the best ideas from both BBC and independent programme makers with a continuing focus on developing and championing new talent and programme ideas as well as the enduring popular shows on the network. Radio 4 broadcasts more than 180 hours of original comedy each year, ranging from quizzes and panel shows to stand-up, sketch shows and sitcoms.

Award-winning Wiliam has worked with some of the biggest names in British comedy and comes to Radio 4 with a wealth of experience from across the industry. In March 2015, Wiliam will join the small team of commissioning editors for Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra - Mohit Bakaya (factual), Jeremy Howe (drama) and Tony Phillips (arts) - who work with Controller Gwyneth Williams.

Wiliam started her comedy career as a member of the Oxford Revue, performing with Armando Iannucci, Rebecca Front and David Schneider. She joined the BBC Radio Light Entertainment Department as a producer in 1988, working on shows with Jenny Eclair, Paul Merton, Steve Coogan and Nicholas Parsons among others. In 1989, Wiliam performed in a double act for Radio 4 with Rebecca Front in two series of Girls Will Be Girls, which are still occasionally played in the evenings on Radio 4 Extra.

Sioned Wiliam says: “I am thrilled to be returning to Radio 4 to work with some of the best talent in British comedy and hope to do justice to the amazing legacy left by Caroline Raphael.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, says: “Radio 4’s comedy programmes are enjoyed by millions of listeners each week, both on air and digitally, so it’s a pleasure to welcome someone as experienced and talented as Sioned to my senior team as comedy commissioner. Sioned has an outstanding reputation in the world of comedy with an impressive CV in both radio and TV and I’m confident she’ll be bringing the best ideas, talent and programmes to our listeners.”

During the past three decades, Wiliam has produced a diverse mix of programmes broadcast on Channel 4 (Paris, Tonight With Jonathan Ross), Sky 1 (Yonderland), ITV 2 (Laura, Ben And Him), BBC Two (Big Train, Game On), BBC One (Unfinished Business), S4C (I Dot), Radio 4 (First Impressions) and Radio 2 (On The Blog).

Between 1999 and 2006 Wiliam was the Controller of Comedy for ITV, with two of her commissions winning BAFTAs - The Sketch Show and Cold Feet. While there, she also commissioned many popular films including Christmas Lights, Booze Cruise and the Trapped series as well as the award-winning animated satire 2DT.

She has also worked as a comedy consultant on The Ministry Of Curious Stuff for CBBC and won a British Comedy Award and a Bronze Rose at Montreux for Big Train (BBC One) in 1999. Rhestr Nadolig Wil (S4C), which she developed and executive produced, won a children’s BAFTA in 2009 and was also nominated for the New York Kidscreen Award in 2010.

Her appointment follows the announcement in October 2014 about Caroline Raphael’s departure as the Commissioning Editor for Comedy and Fiction.

Notes to Editors

Radio 4 is the home of radio comedy in the UK with its distinctive mix of content ranging from programmes with emerging writers and performers to classic formats and high profile comedians. Radio 4’s comedy programmes have a weekly reach of 5.26m according to the latest RAJAR figures.

The genre is also hugely popular digitally among audiences with BBC Radio 4’s Friday Night Comedy being the most successful single BBC Podcast. It has been downloaded domestically more than 73m times and internationally more than 100m times following its launch in 2007. Radio 4’s comedy programmes are often some of the most requested radio iPlayer programmes: in November 2014, The News Quiz was listened to over 700,000 times and The Museum of Curiosity 180,000 times.

It was announced in October 2014 that Caroline Raphael would be leaving the BBC following an internal restructuring across BBC Radio. The release is available here. The overall volume of comedy programmes commissioned for Radio 4 is unaffected by the change.

The internal restructuring was made as part of wider plans by BBC Radio for the BBC’s Delivering Quality First strategy following the flat licence fee settlement in 2010. The BBC expects to deliver over £1.5 billion of cumulative annual savings by the end of the current Charter period in 2016/17.