Sharman tipped as BBC1's new chief

The BBC will announce today who will replace Lorraine Heggessey as the controller of its flagship channel BBC1. Reports last night suggested the post would go to Alison Sharman, who oversees daytime television, although the BBC denied she had been offered the job.

The BBC will announce today who will replace Lorraine Heggessey as the controller of its flagship channel BBC1. Reports last night suggested the post would go to Alison Sharman, who oversees daytime television, although the BBC denied she had been offered the job.

Final interviews for the £200,000-a-year post were held this week. Other candidates include Jane Lush, the BBC's controller of entertainment commissioning, John Keeling, head of the pay-TV network UKTV and Five's controller of programmes Dan Chambers.

Jane Root, the former controller of BBC2, who left last year to head the Discovery Channel in the US, Talkback's chief executive Peter Fincham and Sophie Turner-Laing, the deputy managing director of Sky Networks, have also been linked to the post.

Channel 4's director of programmes Kevin Lygo and the BBC head of drama commissioning Jane Tranter have ruled themselves out. One of the most desirable jobs in broadcasting, the post of BBC1 controller became vacant when Ms Heggessey announced she was leaving to join the independent production company Talkback Thames as chief executive.

The BBC's director of television Jana Bennett and the BBC's creative director Alan Yentob conducted the interviews. Last week, Ms Heggessey unveiled her last summer-season launch, announcing that an entire week of BBC programming would be dedicated to Africa in July. She has spent five years in the job.

One of the first problems facing her successor will be to rescue EastEnders, which has suffered from ratings troughs.

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