Lorraine Heggessey

Lorraine Heggessey, the first woman to run BBC One, talks to media consultant Donna Taberer about the barriers she had to overcome in her trailblazing career.

Lorraine discusses being a woman in a man’s world, how a journalistic background sets you up for doing anything and the one thing she wished she'd done before lockdown.

This Q&A, recorded on Tuesday 31 March, 2020 from Lorraine's home during the Covid-19 crisis, is supported by the ScreenSkills Television Skills Fund which invests in training for the freelance television workforce thanks to contributions from the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

It is part of a ScreenSkills Industry Greats Masterclass programme designed by media consultant Donna Taberer to support freelancers to upskill and stay connected, helping keep the industry resilient during the coronavirus lockdown.

About Lorraine Heggessey

Lorriane is no stranger to controversy. She filmed secretly behind the iron curtain, doorstepped Roger Cook in a documentary directed by Ken Loach, persuaded notorious gangster “Mad” Frankie Fraser to give his first ever television interview, and as head of Children’s BBC, had to sack Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon for taking cocaine.

When she was controller BBC One, she introduced shows like Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Spooks. She went on to become CEO of talkbackTHAMES, producing around 800 hours of programming a year, including entertainment hits X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and The Apprentice.

Lorraine is currently chair of The Grierson Trust and advisor to Channel 4’s Growth Fund, offering support to several independent production companies.

If you are interested in a career in the film and TV drama industries or the unscripted TV industry, find out more with ScreenSkills' job profiles.