BBC director of television Danny Cohen to leave the corporation

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

BBC director of television Danny Cohen to leave the corporation

Danny Cohen
Danny Cohen

The BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen, is leaving the corporation after eight years.

Danny Cohen
Danny Cohen

Cohen, who will depart at the end of November, will be “pursing a new leadership challenge”.

Cohen said: “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.”

Mark Linsey, controller of entertainment commissioning, will step into the role until an appointment is made.

He went on to say that 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,” he added.

The BBC’s director-general, Tony Hall, said: “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.”

During his time at the BBC, Cohen was involved in either commissioning or overseeing successful shows like Call The Midwife, Poldark, Wolf Hall, Happy Valley and more.

Hall went on to say: “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.”

Hall wished Cohen well and described him as “one of TV’s great talents”.

Cohen is reportedly the person former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson phoned “to report himself” to, following his fracas with a producer on the show.

His name was also bandied about when a letter, signed by several high profile celebrities, was sent to Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the publication of a green paper launching the 10-yearly review of the BBC’s Royal Charter.

The letter in question asked Cameron to ensure the Government does not turn the BBC into “a narrowly focused market-failure broadcaster”.

Hall later defended Cohen when he appeared in front of MPs, and is quoted by The Guardian as saying: “The point is there were lots of people offering to sign a letter and to make a letter happen. It’s a very odd organisation when people who work for it can’t speak up on its behalf.”

From 2007 to 2010, Cohen was the controller of BBC Three.

His commissions included Being Human, Our War, Blood Sweat And Takeaways, Him And Her and Russell Howard’s Good News.

Before joining the BBC, he was the head of E4, and prior to that headed Channel 4 Documentaries.

He was the name behind many successful shows like Skins, The Inbetweeners, Fonejacker, Supernanny and the documentary series Cutting Edge.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: