Danny Cohen

The BBC has announced that Danny Cohen, the BBC’s Director of Television, is leaving the corporation to pursue a new leadership challenge.

“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% of UK audiences every week, delivered outstanding Channel Services and built the No.1 digital service across the television industry in the 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.” – Danny Cohen

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.

BBC One Logo

As Director of BBC Television Danny Cohen lead all of the BBC’s Television Networks – BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three and BBC Four. He also lead BBC Productions the programme making side of the beeb. His leadership encompassed the production and commissioning of all of the BBC’s Drama, Comedy, Entertainment and Factual programmes. In addition he was responsible for the corporation’s content on the iPlayer and its movie arm BBC Films.

The beeb’s Director of Television oversees a team of over 3000 people, producing over 10,000 hours of content a year. They are responsible for a budget of over £1.5 billion a year. The DoT also sits on the BBC’s Executive Board which has overall responsibility for the management of the BBC and its £3.5 billion a year budget.

“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.” – Tony Hall, Director General

Under Cohen’s leadership, BBC Television has, according to the beeb, enjoyed a ‘golden period of hit shows and multiple awards’. In the last few days BBC One enjoyed Super Wednesday, with 15 million people tuning in to The Great British Bake Off and 8 million viewers watching the finale of new drama Doctor Foster.

The Great British Bake Off

Last year BBC Television reached 92% of the UK population making it the most successful UK network of Channels. In the first quarter of this year, the BBC’s main network – BBC One – delivered its best start to the year in a decade with a prime-time audience share of 25.2%.

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. Cohen was appointed the youngest ever Director of BBC Television at the age of 39 and prior to that he was appointed the youngest ever Controller of BBC One at the age of 36. He received a Double First in English Literature from Oxford University.

Darlings of television have been paying tribute to the corporations telly boss.

‘Danny has been instrumental in my development as both a person and a performer. He has a fantastic creative mind and much as I’m sad he’s leaving the BBC, I’m excited to see what he does next.’ – James Corden  
 ‘I have worked with Danny for eight years and have loved every minute. He’s smart, dedicated and extremely kind to everyone on the team. He has been a brilliant creative leader of BBC Television. We’ll miss him enormously. I wish him all the luck in the world.’ – Claudia Winkleman

Tess Daly, Claudia Winkleman

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