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OEA President - John Willis

Monday, 14 December, 2015 -- Helen Wilson

John Willis (1965) is the most recent past Chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), an organisation which he has been closely associated with for almost 30 years.

John has received four BAFTA nominations including one win for the documentary Johnny Go Home. He is one of the best known figures in British television and is currently Chairman of Mentorn Media, producers of Question Time for the BBC. He is also the external Ombudsman for the Guardian and Observer newspapers, Group Creative Director of Tinopolis plc and Chairman of One World Media.

John left Eltham College, where he was Head Boy as well as Captain of Cricket and Rugby, in 1965. After graduating with a History degree from Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge John took a post graduate course of Bristol University.

He started his professional career at Yorkshire Television where he directed a string of award-winning documentaries including Alice-a Fight for Life and Rampton-The Secret Hospital. In 1988 John moved to Channel 4 as Controller of Factual Programmes, being promoted to Director of Programmes in 1993.Channel 4's successes during his time included Trainspotting, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Cutting Edge, Father Ted and The Big Breakfast.

After that he became Chief Executive of United Productions makers of Hornblower and Alan Bleasdale's Oliver Twist. Following a spell in Boston as Creative Director of the public broadcasting station WGBH he returned to the UK in 2003 as Controller of Factual and Learning at the BBC before leaving for Mentorn in late 2006. BBC programmes made on his watch included Planet Earth and The Secret Policeman.

John was a parent governor at Eltham College for a number of years in the 1990s and his son Tom also attended the school.