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Paul Fox (television executive)


Paul Fox (television executive)

Sir Paul Leonard Fox, CBE (born 27 October 1925), is a British television executive, who spent much of his broadcasting career working for BBC Television, most prominently as the Controller of BBC 1 between 1967 and 1973.


  • Early life 1
  • BBC career 2
  • Later career 3
  • Honours 4
  • References 5

Early life

Fox was educated in Bournemouth and served in the Parachute Regiment, 1943-46.

BBC career

Fox began his career at the Corporation in the 1950s, writing scripts for the Television Newsreel programme before going on to create and edit the popular sports programme Sportsview. While editing Sportsview in 1954 he hit upon the idea of creating the annual BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, a glittering ceremony that is still held every December by the Corporation and seen as one of the major events in British sport.

By the early 1960s he had been promoted to Head of Public Affairs at BBC Television and in this role was heavily involved in the news coverage of the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the subsequent reaction to the events in the United Kingdom. In 1967 he became the Controller of BBC1 a post he held for six years, one of the longest reigns of any BBC Channel Controller. His achievements in the role included the launch of the enduring Dad's Army and overseeing the transition of BBC1 into colour in 1969. He also commissioned The Two Ronnies, Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game and the Parkinson talk show in 1971. All the Moon landings of Project Apollo occurred during his tenure, and Fox allocated generous time on his network for coverage.

Later career

Ward Thomas brought in Fox as Head of Programmes of Yorkshire Television (YTV) in 1973,[1][2] during which he was quite vocal in his disapproval of the ultimately unsuccessful poaching in 1985 of Dallas from the BBC by fellow ITV contractor Thames Television.[3] This permanently soured his relationship with Thames executive Bryan Cowgill, who had been a former colleague at the BBC. Whilst at YTV he was prominent in representing the managerial view in the industrial dispute between members of the ACTT trade union and the ITV companies, which blacked out the network for three months in 1979. He was Chairman of ITN from 1986 to 1988 and later Managing Director of BBC Network Television (1988–91).


Fox was honoured with a CBE in 1985 and was knighted in 1991.


  1. ^ John Lyttle Television / Will you still want me tomorrow? ... The Independent, 11 March 1993
  2. ^ "THREE DECADES OF YTVE - YORKSHIRE TV - 1968-98 - Yorkshire's rollercoaster ride". Broadcast. 31 July 1998. p4
  3. ^ Anthony Hayward Obituary: Bryan Cowgill The Independent, 17 July 2008
Media offices
Preceded by
Michael Peacock
Controller of BBC One
Succeeded by
Bryan Cowgill
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