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5 items from 2011

Comic Relief co-creator urges BBC to split news and entertainment

20 September 2011 9:40 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Peter Bennett-Jones says BBC should be 'cleaved into two' to stop 'neutering' non-factual shows

Peter Bennett-Jones, the co-creator of Comic Relief and founder of production company Tiger Aspect, believes the BBC needs to have two separate divisions for news and entertainment to stop a "neutering" of the corporation's non-factual programming.

Bennett-Jones railed against the BBC management's "twisted tyranny of data" and their "lack of faith in creative talent" he believes is smothering the TV industry.

Bennett-Jones, giving the Bafta annual television lecture on Monday, said it is the BBC's news and current affairs operation that shapes the corporation's overall relationship with the government – "its paymaster" – and that crises such as the Hutton debacle have coloured who gets promoted to top roles at the BBC.

He argued the BBC has a "schizophrenic faultline" in the ranks of senior management – from the director general down to channel controllers and "policy police" – that »

- Mark Sweney

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Atkinson Leaves Hospital

6 August 2011 7:11 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

British actor Rowan Atkinson has been discharged from hospital after sustaining a fractured shoulder blade in a car crash this week (beg01Aug11).

The 56-year-old funnyman was hospitalised after crashing his luxury McLaren F1 supercar, which spun off the road, hitting a tree and a road sign before catching fire. Atkinson left the medical facility in Peterborough, England in a wheelchair on Friday and was driven away in a private ambulance.

The accident occurred as Atkinson was driving home following work on his new movie Johnny English Reborn, in which he plays a hapless secret agent.

The Mr. Bean star's agent Peter Bennett-Jones tells Britain's Daily Mirror, "I understand he has a fractured shoulder blade which is very painful and why he needed to stay in overnight. He is shaken but not stirred. I think he was in pain and had painkillers.

"The car has been removed and I'm sure he won't want it to be written off. He will want to get it repaired straight away...

"He will be very rattled and I think he'll want to keep as low profile as possible." »

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Comic Relief co-founder to pick up BAFTA

19 May 2011 4:11 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Comic Relief co-founder and comedy producer Peter Bennett-Jones will be given a Special Award at the TV BAFTAs on Sunday. Bennett-Jones launched Comic Relief with Richard Curtis in 1986 and is also the founder of Tiger Aspect, whose famous credits include Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley and Mr Bean. He also runs talent agencies Pbj and Kbj, whose clients include Rowan Atkinson, Lenny Henry, Armando Iannucci, Eddie Izzard and Harry Enfield. Chair of the BAFTA television committee John Willis said: "Without Peter, British television would have been much less fun. He has developed and inspired (more) »

- By Alex Fletcher

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Peter Bennett-Jones to get Bafta's special award

18 May 2011 11:34 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Comic Relief co-creator stepped down from his production firm at start of year to devote more time to the charity

The man behind the Vicar of Dibley and Mr Bean and the co-creator of Comic Relief, Peter Bennett-Jones, will be given the special award at the Bafta Television Awards on Sunday.

Bennett-Jones stepped down from his independent production company Tiger Aspect at the beginning of this year to devote more time to Comic Relief, which he founded with Richard Curtis, and his two talent agencies, Pbj and Kbj Management.

John Willis, chair of the Bafta television committee, said: "Without Peter, British television would have been much less fun.

"He has developed and inspired some of the finest talents in comedy, as well as masterminded one of our best known production companies. Yet he still found time to help create, and now lead, Comic Relief. His contribution has been immense."

Former »

- John Plunkett

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Peter Bennett-Jones: A talent spotter with a lot of comic relief

6 February 2011 11:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

The chairman of Tiger Aspect is stepping down but plans to spend more time on charity work and fostering television talent

Peter Bennett-Jones's CV tells of a rich and varied career in the entertainment industry. Cambridge Footlights, agent to comedy talent including Rowan Atkinson, Eddie Izzard and Armando Iannucci, helping set up Comic Relief with Richard Curtis, independent producer with credits including Mr Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, Billy Elliot, Charlie and Lola, and Omagh.

In typically self-deprecating fashion, he puts this down to being "very lucky" with who he met at university – including Griff Rhys Jones at Cambridge, and Oxford graduates Atkinson and Curtis when Footlights went to the Edinburgh Festival – but there's a bit more to it than that. Industry colleagues speak with unusual affection of Pbj, as he is widely known, as a respected behind the scenes operator – described as a "great unsung hero of British »

- Tara Conlan

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5 items from 2011

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