WACL Speaker Dinner, Tuesday 10th December 2002
Lorraine became Controller of BBC ONE in November 2000, the first woman to hold the position. She had been appointed in the September, shortly before it was announced that the BBC ONE Nine O’Clock News was to be moved to 10.00pm.
Previously, Lorraine Heggessey was one of the Joint Directors of the Factual and Learning division, established in April 2000. She was responsible for restructuring the division and came up with the blueprint for the new integrated Children’s structure.
Lorraine, who gained an Upper Second BA Hons in English Language & Literature at Durham University, was a graduate trainee on local newspapers for Westminster Press before starting her career in television in 1979 as a BBC News Trainee.
She has a long track record in making current affairs and popular factual programmes for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and has also worked in the independent sector. In her early twenties she was a producer on Panorama, the BBC’s prestigious current affairs series, and then moved on to work on ITV’s re-launched This Week. After that she went to Clark Productions as Deputy Editor of Hard News for Channel 4. With Ken Loach directing, she produced and reported a Dispatches on the press treatment of Arthur Scargill during which she turned the tables on Roger Cook by doorstepping him. She was the founding editor of the BBC right to reply programme Biteback and Series Producer of the BBC’s The Underworld for which she secured the first interview with Mad Frankie Fraser, one of Britain’s most notorious criminals.
Lorraine was Editor of QED, BBC ONE’s flagship science documentary series, Executive Producer of Animal Hospital, and the Executive Producer of the highly acclaimed science landmark series The Human Body.
In October 1997 Lorraine took up the post of Head of BBC Children’s where she revitalised the children’s department and portfolio, launching 17 new titles including Microsoap, Trading Places, Pig Heart Boy and Dinosaur Detectives. The department was restructured and New Media and Development Units were created. Lorraine also launched Children’s Proms in the Park.
She then became, in October 1999, BBC Production’s Director of Programmes and Deputy Chief Executive where she led the creation and development of output across all genres and all media.