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Broadcasting

Chief Executive, Channel 4 Television Corporation
David Abraham has been at the helm of Channel 4 since 2010, joining from UKTV, where he was credited with transforming channels such as Alibi, Dave and Yesterday. Abraham began his career in advertising, founding agency St Luke's in 1995, before moving to television. With the threat of privatisation looming over Channel 4, Abraham recently criticised government interference and defended the breadth and variety of the channel's programmes, saying public service broadcasting does not mean 'obscure operas and avant-garde art films that might impress our friends.'
Naturalist and Broadcaster
In November David Attenborough's Planet Earth II became the most-watched natural history documentary in 15 years, with its second episode attracting more than 13 million viewers. Attenborough took an interest in natural history from a young age and won a scholarship to Cambridge. He joined the BBC as a trainee producer in 1952 and later, as controller of BBC 2, commissioned programmes such as Monty Python's Flying Circus. He went on to become director of programmes, but was reluctant to pursue the top job of director-general, preferring to return to broadcasting.
Broadcaster, Journalist and Author
One of the UK's best-loved and most accomplished sports presenters, in 2016 Clare Balding presented her sixth Olympic Games. She works across the BBC, Channel 4 and BT Sport, and has been named RTS Sports Presenter of the Year, Sports Presenter of the Year at the TRIC Awards, and Racing Journalist of the Year. Balding went to Downe House school and grew up riding: her father, grandfather, uncle and brother were all prominent horse trainers. Her autobiography, My Animals and Other Family, became a Sunday Times bestseller and she recently published her first children's book, The Racehorse That Wouldn't Gallop.
President, eOne Television International
In 2014 Stuart Baxter became president of Entertainment One, which produces and distributes entertainment content including Peppa Pig and films such as Mr Turner and Spotlight. Baxter, who has more than 20 years' experience in broadcast, international distribution and production, was recruited to grow the company’s TV business and oversees sales, distribution and third-party content. Prior to joining eOne, he spent ten years at Sony Pictures, where he developed the distribution of all Sony programmes throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Baxter has stated his intention to double the size of eOne over the next four years.
Deputy Director General, BBC
The first female deputy director-general of the BBC, Anne Bulford was appointed to her new role in 2016 and is responsible for the broadcaster's marketing and commercial rights and for running its operations. Bulford was chief operating officer at Channel 4 before moving to the BBC in 2013 as managing director of finance and operations. Though she has no programme-making experience, she has overseen the corporation's strict cost-cutting measures and helped improve its technology projects following the abandoned £100 million Digital Media Initiative. Bulford is a trustee of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Chief Executive, ITV plc
A former boss of Saatchi & Saatchi, the FA and Royal Mail, Adam Crozier has been chief executive at ITV since 2010, taking control of the organisation at a time when revenues were falling amid competition from other channels. He has since invested heavily in content, securing one of the most successful TV exports ever with Downton Abbey as well as recent hits such as Victoria and a revival of Cold Feet. ITV suffered another drop in advertising revenue last year, which Crozier blamed on the EU referendum result, but his impressive record of organisational change makes him well placed to tackle the challenge.
Chief Executive, Sky
Appointed CEO in 2007, Jeremy Darroch has spearheaded Sky’s drive towards greater accessibility and overseen its transformation from solely a television provider into the most comprehensive multi-platform home communications service in the UK and Ireland. Sky now offers phone lines and broadband as well as TV and serves 21 million customers across five countries. 2016 has seen a change in the business’s focus, with Sky reducing its sports broadcasting rights, due to declining Premier League audience figures, in favour of entertainment. The company is currently the target of a takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox.
Presenter, Newsnight
Former Radio 4 Today presenter Evan Davis was appointed to front Newsnight in 2014, replacing Jeremy Paxman. An economist by background, Davis studied PPE at Oxford and gained a Master’s from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. While his interview approach may be slightly less combative than his predecessor, Davis has won favourable reviews for his anchorship during a period covering a general election, several leadership contests, a referendum and a race for US president. Davis also presents Dragons’ Den and has presented a number of documentaries, including Breaking into Britain.
Journalist and Broadcaster
2016 RTS Network Presenter of the Year Victoria Derbyshire has presented her own BBC2 current affairs show since 2015, winning praise for her coverage of important news stories perhaps unexpected of a standard morning show. In 2016 she was at the forefront of the breaking news story over sexual abuse in football when she interviewed four of the alleged victims. Derbyshire was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and recorded video diaries chronicling her treatment for the disease. She began her career in local radio and went on to work on Radio 5Live before moving into television.
Journalist and Presenter
Last June broadcasting veteran David Dimbleby anchored the BBC’s coverage of the EU referendum for eleven hours straight, and has recently signed with the corporation to extend his 22-year tenure as host of Question Time. Dimbleby joined the BBC after graduating from Oxford, and has presented its general election programmes since 1979. The son of the corporation’s first war correspondent, Richard, his younger brother Jonathan is also a current affairs presenter, for ITV. Dimbleby commentated at the funerals of both Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.
Director, BBC News and Current Affairs
Multilingual former Times editor James Harding has been in charge of the BBC's global news and current affairs output since 2014. Harding became the youngest editor of The Times when he was appointed aged 38, and previously worked at the Financial Times as Washington bureau chief. Born in London, he was educated at St Paul’s, before going on to study History at Cambridge. He has stated his commitment to investigative journalism and says that he wants to double the BBC's worldwide news audience by 2022.
Private Eye Editor and Television Presenter
Private Eye editor Ian Hislop has also established himself as a television personality, as a long-term panellist on Have I Got News For You and presenter of documentaries on matters ranging from the Victorian benefits system to an emotional history of Britain. In 2016 Hislop celebrated his third decade in charge of satirical weekly Private Ey. A notorious subject of libel suits, the magazine apparently keeps ‘a fighting fund’ for the purpose. It recently reported its highest circulation since Hislop became editor, making it the best-selling current affairs magazine in the UK.
Radio 4 Today and Mastermind Presenter
‘Rottweiler of Radio 4’ John Humphrys has spent three decades presenting the Today programme and, at 73, remains one of the UK’s most revered political interviewers. Humphrys was the main presenter on the Nine O’Clock News for six years until 1987 having joined the BBC in 1966. He had previously covered Richard Nixon’s resignation as Washington correspondent and was a foreign correspondent in Africa and the US. Humphreys, who also presents Mastermind, was born in Cardiff and left school aged 15 to become a reporter on local newspaper Penarth Times.
Chief Creative Officer, Channel 4
Jay Hunt was¬¬¬ at the centre of a great British controversy last year when Channel 4 won the rights to the BBC’s Great British Bake Off. The channel won plaudits, however, for its coverage of the Paralympics in Rio, and Hunt has claimed that its bid saved the much-loved bakery show from satellite broadcasters. Hunt became chief creative officer in 2011 and has brought popular shows including The Undateables and Gogglebox to Channel 4, which was named Broadcast Channel of the Year in 2016. She read English at Cambridge and previously worked at the BBC for 20 years.
Presenter, Radio 4 Today
Mishal Husain has been a voice of weekday mornings for more than 7 million listeners of the Today programme since joining as presenter in 2013. Born in Northampton to Pakistani parents, Husain joined the BBC in 1998 as a junior producer, before moving in front of the camera on BBC World where she covered the 2003 Istanbul bombings and the death of Osama bin Laden. Husain has also presented four critically-acclaimed BBC documentaries, including Britain and Europe – The Immigration Question. She was named Broadcaster of the Year at the 2015 London Press Club Awards.
BBC Political Editor
Named Journalist of the Year at the Press Gazette’s 2016 British Journalism Awards, Laura Kuenssberg has been the BBC’s political editor since 2015 and is the first woman to hold the position. Kuenssberg was at the forefront of the BBC’s coverage of the EU referendum in June, assisting David Dimbleby during his all-night anchorage. Having grown up in Glasgow, Kuenssberg studied journalism at Georgetown University and worked for NBC before returning to the UK, joining the BBC in 2000. She was business editor on ITV News for three years.
Director, BBC Studios
Mark Linsey was announced as the new director of BBC Studios in March as part of a plan to move some of the corporation’s shows into a new commercial division. Linsey joined the BBC in 2007 as executive director for entertainment, and in 2008 was promoted to controller of entertainment commissioning responsible for programmes including Strictly Come Dancing and The Apprentice. He studied Performing Arts at Leicester Polytechnic and worked in television production for more than 20 years prior to joining the BBC, including at Hat Trick Productions and Tiger Aspect.
Director of TV, ITV
Kevin Lygo became director of television at ITV in 2016 during a challenging year for the channel, with hit export Downton Abbey having come to an end and The X Factor struggling for audience share. Lygo began his career in television as a BBC scriptwriter for The Two Ronnies and moved to Channel 4 as head of entertainment. In 2014 he was revealed as the scriptwriter behind the pseudonym Ruby Solomon, who had written a BBC police drama pilot Walter. Lygo has said that despite a drop in ratings, The X Factor remains a defining programme for ITV and will continue until at least 2019.
Presenter, BBC News and Newsnight
Emily Maitlis is a presenter on Newsnight with Evan Davis and Kirsty Wark and also presents news bulletins on BBC 1 and the BBC News channel. Born in Canada, she graduated from Cambridge and became a documentary maker in Cambodia and China. She worked for NBC Asia and Sky News as UK business correspondent, and covered the handover of Hong Kong for Channel 4. Maitlis has said that she prefers a gentler style of interviewing to her former Newsnight colleague Jeremy Paxman and has also made a number of BBC documentaries, including Inside Facebook and Donald Trump: All American Billionaire.
Founder and Creative Director, Love Productions
Richard McKerrow has devised and produced a number of the UK’s most popular television series including Famous Rich and Homeless and Benefits Street, as well as The Great British Bake Off, episodes of which made up all of the top five most-watched UK shows of 2016. McKerrow founded Love Productions in 2004 with his wife Anna Beattie and the company found itself at the centre of a national controversy in 2016 after the rights to Bake Off were acquired by Channel 4 for £25 million a year. McKerrow worked for Yorkshire Television and Channel 4 before founding Love Productions.
Managing Director, Sky Vision
Jane Millichip became head of Sky’s distribution and production arm Sky Vision in 2013 and has overseen its expansion into drama and entertainment, as well as acquiring stakes in six production businesses in the US and UK – most notably Love Productions, the company behind The Great British Bake Off. Sky Vision is now the fastest-growing distributor in the UK with formats including The Great Pottery Throw Down and The Secret Life of the Zoo. Millichip began her career as a print journalist, and went on to work at LivingTV, South Pacific Pictures, RDF Rights and Zodiak Rights.
Director of Content, BBC
Former BBC 1 controller Charlotte Moore became head of all the the corporation’s channels in 2016 after controller roles were abolished. She began her career as a producer-director of documentaries and was later responsible for commissioning award-winning factual shows at the BBC including Stephen Fry’s Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which won an Emmy. 2016 saw the BBC broadcast 31 of the top 40 most-watched UK shows and while the loss of Bake Off will present a challenge in 2017, Moore has revealed new commissions including a fourth series of Line of Duty and an adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s young adult novel Noughts and Crosses.
Comedian and Television Presenter
For the last six years BBC1’s coveted Friday night 10.30 slot has belonged to Irish comedian Graham Norton, whose chat show has won five BAFTAs and hosted a succession of world-famous stars. Norton moved to the UK from Dublin to pursue a career in comedy and took his drag act to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He later embarked on a broadcasting career with regular appearances on Radio 4’s Loose Ends, and is now also a presenter on Radio 2. Norton’s new BBC 1 show, music competition Let it Shine, was created by Gary Barlow, who also acts as a judge.
Political Editor, ITV News
After ten years at the BBC, latterly as business editor, Robert Peston moved to ITV to become political editor and to present his own current affairs show, Peston on Sunday. He fronted much of ITV’s EU referendum coverage last year and in a recent article for the Daily Mail he warned that 2017 will be even more turbulent than 2016. The son of economist and Labour peer Maurice Peston, Peston is the founder of Speakers For Schools, encouraging industry leaders, public figures and academics to inspire state school pupils with free talks and discussions across the UK.
Director of BBC Radio
James Purnell was appointed to oversee the BBC’s radio stations in September last year, igniting controversy over whether his political background would influence content. Purnell started out at the BBC in the 1990s in corporate planning and left to become special adviser to Tony Blair. He later became MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, and was a member of Gordon Brown’s cabinet as secretary of state for culture and then work and pensions. Purnell returned to the BBC as director of strategy and digital in 2013 and his new role puts him in contention for director-general.
Presenter, Channel 4 News
A mainstay of British broadcasting, Jon Snow has been the face of Channel 4 News since 1989 and is its longest-serving presenter. Over a more than 40-year career, Snow has reported on some of the most significant events in history including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of Nelson Mandela, though he says his most terrifying experience was smoking skunk as part of a Channel 4 investigation. His father was the Bishop of Whitby, and though he claims not to have been academic as a child, he was very inquisitive, an early indication of journalistic promise.
Founder and Executive President, Global
Ashley Tabor is head of the UK’s largest commercial radio group, Global Radio. Having left school at 16 and started his career in hospital radio, Tabor set up Global in 2007 and it now owns a number of the UK’s favourite stations, including Heart, Capital and Classic FM. Tabor’s umbrella Global Group is also involved in television broadcasting, live promoting and artist management, and the Global Academy, which opened in 2016, offers young people a pathway into broadcasting and media. Last year Tabor also continued to expand into the music festival scene by acquiring Field Day, SouthWestFour, Board Masters and Rewind.
Chief Executive, Endemol Shine Group
As chief executive of Europe’s largest independent production company, Sophie Turner Laing oversees 120 companies across more than 30 markets dedicated to creating content for all audiences, including the hit shows MasterChef, Hunted and Big Brother. Turner Laing began her career at HIT Entertainment and has held a number of senior positions at BBC and Sky, where she spent 11 years before moving to ESG. In 2016 the company partnered with the Telegraph to provide access to its shows via video streaming service Telegraph Now Showing.
Chief Executive, All3Media
Jane Turton joined All3Media in 2008 and became chief executive in 2015. The independent producer and distributor comprises 18 production companies including Neal Street Productions, Optomen and Studio Lambert and is responsible for shows including Skins, Embarrassing Bodies and Shameless. Turton began her career at Price Waterhouse, and prior to All3Media, was director of commercial and business affairs at ITV. She is a member of the RTS Board of Trustees and a director of PACT, the Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television.
Chief Executive, Ofcom
Sharon White took up her post as chief executive at media watchdog OfCom in 2015. As Ofcom prepares to take on regulation of the BBC next year, she has warned that the corporation is falling short on diversity and its portrayal of ethnic minorities, saying that despite its special status it will not receive special treatment. White studied at Cambridge and gained a Master’s in Economics from UCL. In 1989 she joined the Civil Service and worked at the Treasury, latterly as director-general for public spending.
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