BBC scraps Controller roles in major content shake-up

controller bbc content

The BBC has announced plans to scrap its Controller positions from next year in a major overhaul of how programme content is commissioned across its channels and streaming services.

It always sounded like a job title more akin to life behind the old iron curtain in the age of communism, but the Controller is going and will be replaced by Director roles instead.

In the first major changes announced since taking on the expanded role of Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore has introduced the new structure designed to ensure the BBC continues to reach and deliver value to all audiences, no matter how, when or where they choose to access the BBC.

Controller and content

They are driven by one of the four priorities set out by the new Director-General to focus on unique, high-impact content which audiences feel is for them.

“The new structure I’m announcing today will mean a radical change in the way we commission content, so that the BBC delivers more value to all audiences”, Moore said.

“BBC iPlayer will be at the very heart of our offer, but our channels are what set us apart and will continue to be critical to our success.

charlotte moore bbc
Moore’s way: BBC’s Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore, is putting iPlayer at heart of broadcaster’s output.

“We must feel indispensable to audiences across the UK, and these changes will help us to commission the most creative and ambitious programmes – reinforcing the BBC’s position as the world’s greatest broadcaster and the most dynamic partner for talent.”

The new structure optimises the growth of BBC iPlayer – which will bring all programming into one place, offering a richer choice for audiences than they’ve ever had before – while fostering strong performance across all channels.

Linear channels BBC One, Two and Four reach millions every week so it’s vital they remain at the top of their game delivering distinctive channel brands that audiences know and love.

To this end, the existing genre Controllers move into Director roles with greater accountability for audience performance and the creative pipeline across the BBC’s services.

New roles

A new portfolio Director of BBC iPlayer & Channels will bring together all of the programming and curation activity across BBC iPlayer and the channels.

Three new roles have been created working to the Portfolio Director; a new leadership role for iPlayer, and two Portfolio Editors working across BBC One and BBC Two and Four.

This simpler, more streamlined system will create greater flexibility to deliver world-beating, distinctive programmes for audiences, whether they want to watch them live or on-demand.

It will mark the end of the ‘twin tick’ between genres and channels, whilst the remit and responsibility of the genre directors is expanded.

Patrick Holland will move into the Director of Factual position, and Shane Allen (Comedy), Rose Garnett (Film), Kate Phillips (Entertainment) and Piers Wenger (Drama) will all become Directors of their respective genres.

Dan McGolpin will move into the newly created portfolio role as Director of BBC iPlayer & Channels.

All six Directors will report to Chief Content Officer, Charlotte Moore.

BBC Three remains unchanged, with Fiona Campbell as Controller who will retain a commissioning tick and report to the Director of BBC iPlayer and Channels in this new structure, recognising the BBC’s commitment to better serve young audiences.

The Head of Portfolio Scheduling, Head of Daytime and Early-Peak and Head of Programme Acquisition will all sit within the new Portfolio team.

These changes will see the closure of existing channel controller roles for BBC One, BBC Two and the BBC Four Editor post, though the current interim channel structure will continue to be in place until the new roles are appointed and the new model introduced in April 2021.