The heavyweight contenders for Channel 4's top job as Grade bows out

MELVYN BRAGG

Controller of arts for LWT and edits and presents the South Bank Show. A senior figure in the industry who has cornered the market in arts television; would be helpful in the channel's quest to create a reputation for arts coverage but may not be considered enough of an all-rounder.

DAVID ELSTEIN

Elstein dismisses speculation that he is ruing his decision to leave BSkyB for Channel 5 four months ago. He said yesterday he is more interested in new ventures than old ones. Ruling himself out on the basis that Channel 5 is not even launched yet, he adds that John Willis is `excellent' internal candidate.

MICHAEL JACKSON

The wonderboy of broadcasting, Jackson turned BBC2 around before being promoted to BBC1; he may be doing too well at the BBC to want to move on. He would be good news for Channel 4; has an unerring ability to spot winning programmes but would nurture the channel's quirky character and reputation for film.

BOB PHILLIS

Has the business experience required to run Channel 4, he is chief executive of Worldwide, the BBC's international and commercial arm, and deputy director- general. Has a good political sense and is an able negotiator who would like to break out from what Grade called the new `pseudo-Leninist style' of the BBC.

JOHN WILLIS

John Willis has been running the programme side of Channel 4 since being moved up from deputy director of programmes in 1993. Certain to apply but will be keen to keep hands-on responsibility for programming. His promotion would go down well with staff, who think he deserves it.

ALAN YENTOB

Unhappy after being effectively demoted by John Birt last year in his shake-up of the BBC. But some doubt his ability to translate from the public to the commercial broadcasting sector. While he is applauded for his creativeness, he may not be best suited to a more corporate and financial role.

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