Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big changes due in BBC science

BBC science programming has always been impressive and there'll be big changes next year with these staff changes reported in Broadcast today - it'll be interesting to see how this effects the commissioned programming especially on BBC 3...

BBC head of science John Lynch is to step down at the end of this year, and will leave the BBC altogether in 2010 after delivering a major landmark series about the history of science.

Horizon editor Andrew Cohen will take over Lynch’s role and is looking to beef up BBC3 science in particular.

Lynch, who has headed the science unit for nearly a decade, has yet to decide his next move, but is likely to mix “passion projects” for television with writing books and other roles that “bring media and science to a better mutual understanding”.

He will remain with the BBC into the spring to executive produce the 6 x 60-minute BBC2 series Science Story.

“It looks at the great questions we’ve always asked - Who are we? Where do we come from? What’s out there? - and our changing attempts to answer them,” he said.

The series will air later in 2010 as part of the BBC’s ‘Year of Science’ and was ordered by science and natural history commissioner Kim Shillinglaw. Aiden Lafferty is the executive producer.

About his departure, Lynch added: “I feel like I have achieved a hell of a lot, but there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Ok, I’ve done my stint’. I feel that this is the right time for me to hand over the reins of a revitalised unit. Andrew has a clear, strategic vision for its future.”

Lynch’s tenure spanned the launch of CGI science formats such as Walking With Dinosaurs and the revival of the Tomorrow’s World-style science magazine show with Bang Goes The Theory.

Cohen has edited Horizon since 2005 and is credited with making the science strand more “relevant” to a mainstream audience and forging closer links between the BBC and the UK science community.

He told Broadcast he wants the unit’s output for BBC3 to match its provision for the other BBC channels, and to bring medicine “back to the main channels”. He also wants more physics and cosmology.

During 14 years in the science unit, Cohen has worked across Tomorrow’s World and blue chip landmarks such as Brain Story.

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