Donald Baverstock

Last updated 09 January 2020

Production Credits
Controller of Programmes for BBC1: The Creation of Doctor Who[]
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Donald Baverstock (1924-1995)
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Donald Baverstock

Born: Friday 18th January 1924
Died: Friday 17th March 1995 (age: 71)

An Adventure in Space and Time: Biography
The Independant: Obituary

Donald Baverstock (18 January 1924 – 17 March 1995) was a British television producer and executive, born in Cardiff, Wales. He initially worked for BBC Television in their Talks Department, where he was the Editor of the topical magazine programme Highlight and then co-devised and edited its more ambitious and better-remembered successor Tonight, which began in 1957.

Baverstock worked on Tonight until 1961, when he was promoted to be the BBC’s Assistant Controller of Programmes across the whole television service. He did not occupy this post for very long, however, as in early 1963 he succeeded his superior Stuart Hood to become the Controller of Programmes for BBC One, in anticipation of the launch of the station's companion BBC Two the following year. In the same year he requested Sydney Newman to develop a new Saturday evening show for BBC One which would become Doctor Who.

However, soon after the launch of BBC Two in 1964, Controller Michael Peacock quickly began to run into difficulties, and BBC Director-General Hugh Greene decided in 1965 that the two men would be better suited to running each other’s channels, and took the decision to swap them over.

However, Baverstock felt insulted that he was being asked to take what he saw as a demotion to the lesser channel, and refused to take up his new post, instead resigning from the BBC altogether. He subsequently became involved in the establishment of the ITV northern franchise holder Yorkshire Television, becoming the company's first Director of Programmes and overseeing the creation of popular hits such as the soap opera Emmerdale Farm (from 1972).Despite being ensconced in Yorkshire, Baverstock did attempt to returning to Wales and applied for the vacant post of Controller BBC Wales. Former colleague Leonard Miall claimed in Baverstock's obituary in the Independent newspaper that the BBC Governors who interviewed him were "put off" by his "casual behaviour". Another factor may have been that, although born in Wales, Baverstock, like most of his fellow-countrymen, did not speak Welsh - an attribute considered essential for anyone aspiring to become Controller, Wales.[1]

In 1957 Baverstock married Gillian Darrell Waters, elder daughter of British children's author Enid Blyton, at St James's Church, Piccadilly.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA