Television

BBC Two's Jane Root to join Discovery

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MUMBAI: BBC Two channel's controller Jane Root is to leave BBC to join Discovery Networks as executive vice president and general manager of the Discovery Channel in the US.

First female channel controller in the history of BBC television, Root will leave the BBC in mid-May.

BBC director of television Jana Bennett said: "Jane is an exceptional creative talent, who has inspired programme makers - both in house and independent - to deliver bigger and better ideas for the audience."

"From The Office to Great Britons and Eroica, Jane's energy and passionate commitment to backing the best talent and developing the most ambitious programmes are very much in evidence on the screen. And, with programmes like Restoration and The Big Read, she also pushed for them to have a life beyond the screen and took them out into communities across the UK."

Speaking about Root's contribution in an official press release Bennette said: "Jane's contribution to BBC TWO, steering it to two Channel of the Year awards, and to BBC television as a whole has been enormous and I warmly wish her well in her new role at Discovery. However, I don't feel that this is really a departure. Although she won't be with us in the UK, her presence in Washington will strengthen the thriving partnership between the BBC and Discovery in the US. We look forward to continuing to work with her in the future," she added.

According to BBC acting director general Mark Byford, "Jane Root has been an outstanding creative leader of BBC Two spearheading a wide range of outstanding landmark programmes and events and original work across drama, factual, comedy, current affairs and music. We all wish her well with her new job and thank her for her brilliant contribution, while here at the BBC."

Announcing her appointment, Root commented: "It's been the worst kept secret in the whole of British television, but I can finally confirm that I am leaving BBC Two for Discovery. It was a hard decision to make, leaving the BBC and BBC Two in particular will be difficult. Two is a very hard channel to say goodbye to: it's got such a strong personality, and so many brilliant people contribute to it. I've completely loved the past five years."

"But Discovery is also a great place, and a special partner to the BBC, so I am really excited about the challenges ahead."

The channel will soon be inviting applications for the post vacate via press advertisement, says a company release.

According to media reports, Root joined the BBC in 1997 to set up and head the newly-formed Independent Commissioning Group (ICG), which worked with independent production companies. During her tenure ICG brought many hit shows to the BBC, including The Cops, Dinnerladies and The Naked Chef. She joined BBC Two as controller in January 1999.

Previously Root had been joint managing director production company, Wall To Wall Television, a company she co-founded. She was responsible for both the creative and business development of all commissions and, over 10 years, oversaw numerous highly successful programmes including The Media Show, Eat Your Greens/Grow Your Greens, Sophie's Meat Course, Rwandan Stories and The Garden Guru.

Prior to her television career, Root as a freelance journalist and film critic, worked at The Guardian, New Statesman and a range of film and women's magazines.

Besides, she has contributed to several books on film and is the author of Pictures of Women (1981) and Open the Box: About Television (1983).

Jane has also lectured in Film Studies (1981-84) and was the manager of the film distribution company, Cinema For Women (1981-83).

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