Bryan Cowgill is a British television executive, who initially worked in the sports department of BBC Television. He devised the Saturday afternoon sports showcase Grandstand, a programme which was an immediate success and still runs on BBC One to this day. In 1962 he devised the similarly long_running Sportsnight midweek sports show, and the following year he was promoted to Head of Sport.
In 1964 it was under his control of the department that the BBC introduced its famous football highlights programme Match of the Day, another famous format which again is still running as of 2004. His tenure also saw the BBC covering an increasing number of ambitious sporting events, including organising extensive coverage as host broadcaster of the 1966World Cup and showing coverage live by satellite from Mexico of both the 1968Olympic Games and 1970 World Cup.
In 1973, after a decade in charge of the sports department of BBC Television, he was promoted to Controller of BBC One, the Corporation’s premier television station. Despite coming from a sports background, he was able to oversee a successful era of programming across all types and genres, with the introduction of popular new sitcoms such as Porridge and The Good Life, and dramas in the vein of When the Boat Comes In and All Creatures Great and Small.
In 1977 he accepted an offer to leave the BBC after over twenty years to join Thames Television as its Managing Director. He stayed in this position until 1985.
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