Lord (Michael) Grade CBE

Lord (Michael) Grade CBE

Former Chairman, BBC

Synopsis

Having been in charge of both the BBC and Channel 4, Michael was responsible for the early American imports like Friends, Frasier and ER and was loathed by the Daily Mail. He now heads up Pinewood and Shepperton Studios and is a Conservative Peer. With a career stretching from the last days of musical hall and variety he shares many a business and showbiz tale.

Biography

Michael Grade has served as Executive Chairman of ITV, before that he served for three years as Chairman of the BBC. He is one of the best known executives in UK film and television who has spent his whole career working behind the scenes of the entertainment business.

Starting out as a sports columnist on the Daily Mirror, Michael then joined the family talent agency run by legendary impresarios Leslie Grade, Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont working with some of the biggest names in British comedy and light entertainment. After seven years as an agent Michael moved to television becoming Head of Entertainment and Director of Programmes at London Weekend Television building the broadcaster into the home of some of the best loved entertainment programmes. From there he went to the US as President of Embassy Television before returning to the UK and the BBC.

As Controller of BBC One Michael continued his track record of brave choices both in commissioning and cancelling much-loved shows. He then moved to the relatively new Channel 4 as Chief Executive. He enjoyed an unprecedented level of success, receiving critical acclaim and huge ratings with his policy of acquiring hit American series like Frasier, ER and Friends.

Michael went on to serve as Chairman of the BBC in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, and then as Executive Chairman of ITV plc. During this latter appointment he oversaw the turn around in the struggling broadcaster’s fortunes, comprehensively restructuring its regionalised set-up. Since then he has regularly appeared in front of the camera commenting on the media industry and fronting BBC documentaries, The Story of Music Hall, and The Story of Variety.

Away from television, Michael oversaw the successful restructuring of First Leisure. He is Chairman of the Pinewood Shepperton Group, the acclaimed film studios responsible for everything from the Bond films to Harry Potter to Star Wars. He has also served as Chair of Octopus Publishing, Ocado and Camelot, the National Lottery operator, and is a Director of his beloved Charlton Athletic.

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