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George Entwistle named Controller, Knowledge Commissioning


George Entwistle has been named as the new BBC Controller of Knowledge Commissioning.

In this role he will be responsible for delivering the recently launched Knowledge Building strategy across the BBC on TV and on the web, from landmark series to documentaries; across specialisms from arts to history, natural history, business, science and religion; to consumer journalism and contemporary factual.

He will head BBC Vision’s Knowledge and Learning commissioning teams who commission programmes and multiplatform content from Vision Productions and the independent sector, which together produce over 1,600 hours of output a year.

Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, said: "As a programme maker and a creative leader, George has an impressive track record across a wide range of genres including current affairs, arts and science.

"This gives him a deep understanding of how to deliver great factual programmes for all audiences.

"He has been an outstanding member of the factual commissioning team and has also had real success leading the creative renewal in current affairs and during his time running BBC Four.

“Knowledge building is a cornerstone of the BBC’s future and this is an opportunity to bring the knowledge story together more powerfully across all channels, the web and other platforms, building on the foundations laid by Glenwyn Benson.”

George Entwistle said: "The BBC’s knowledge output – on TV and every other platform – is right at the heart of our public purposes.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to play my part in taking forward our new Knowledge Strategy – in partnership with the exceptional talent across the BBC and the independent sector – to deliver factual content our audiences will find outstandingly valuable, compelling and enriching.”

George Entwistle’s career has embraced a broad range of factual programme-making.

In 1999, after ten years in current affairs, he joined the science department as Deputy Editor of BBC One’s flagship science show Tomorrow’s World.

He went from there to become Deputy Editor and, in 2001, Editor of Newsnight – which won five RTS awards during his editorship.

In 2004 he moved to BBC Arts to become Executive Editor of Topical Arts. There he launched The Culture Show for BBC Two.

He also spent several months as Chair of the Knowledge Building workgroup on Mark Thompson’s Creative Future strategy review.

In late 2005, he was appointed Head and Commissioning Editor of TV Current Affairs and joined BBC Television’s factual commissioning team.

With Peter Fincham, then Controller of BBC One, Entwistle engineered the return of Panorama to a weekday peak time.

He commissioned a wide variety of Current Affairs documentary series for BBC Two, including The Conspiracy Files, Blair: The Inside Story, Alastair Campbell’s Diaries – plus the Falklands War drama-doc Sea Of Fire and the forthcoming series Tropic Of Capricorn with Simon Reeve.

In April 2007, he became Acting Controller of BBC Four and has led a team which has delivered the channel’s most successful ever period for audience share and reach.

George Entwistle’s commissions for BBC Four have included the season of documentary programming around the recent drama hit Fanny Hill; plus the high-rating Archaeology and Emmylou Harris Nights.

Forthcoming commissions for BBC Four include Andrew Graham-Dixon’s three part Art Of Spain and a series looking at children’s illustration in Britain since World War Two.


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