LONDON — In a long-awaited move, the BBC has tapped Lorraine Heggessey to be the first ever female controller of BBC1, replacing Peter Salmon, who has just been appointed director of sport, a new post (Daily Variety, Sept. 13). Heggessey will take up the post Nov. 1.
Currently joint director of factual and learning at the Beeb, she will oversee all scheduling on the channel and coordinate the programming with a team of four genre commissioners.
One of Heggessey’s chief responsibilities will be to arrest, and if possible reverse, the ratings decline that BBC1 has suffered since the advent of multi-channel TV.
“My goal is to make BBC1 the best channel on British TV,” she said. “It should be a channel that people benefit from spending time with, and whose programs are both popular and of good quality.”
Director general Greg Dyke recently poured an extra £95 million ($133 million) into new programming for the channel, much of which Heggessey said she would devote to producing “more really strong drama.”
She also plans to find a range of content across different genres to fill the 9 p.m. slot recently vacated when Dyke moved the nightly news bulletin to 10 p.m.