Commissioning Editor Caroline Raphael is leaving the BBC next year after her position was cut back in the latest restructuring.
Caroline was responsible for original incarnations of Little Britain, The League of Gentlemen and That Mitchell and Webb Sound, along with early shows featuring Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican. Her official title, after over 30 years with the BBC is Commissioning Editor Comedy and Fiction, BBC Radio 4 and Commissioning Editor, BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Last month her comedy commission for Radio 4 – Bridget Christie Minds The Gap – received the inaugural Rose D’Or for Radio Entertainment.
Caroline joined the BBC in 1984 from Bristol Old Vic Theatre where she had worked as a director. She started in the radio drama team as a script editor, became a producer and then editor and went on to work as the editor of youth programmes for the new BBC Radio 5, where she helped shape the network and commission the first independent productions for BBC Network Radio. Caroline then moved on to become the first female Head of Drama for BBC Radio in 1994.
In 1997, she moved over to Radio 4. She was part of the small team who redesigned the Radio 4 schedule which is still mainly in place over 15 years later, and during her years at the station has commissioned a wide range of programmes and genres, including drama, The Archers, arts and music documentaries, general factual as well as comedy and fiction.
She made her decision after the plans affecting her role were finalised recently as part of the restructuring that is happening across BBC Radio.
Caroline Raphael said: “When I joined the BBC on a temporary 10 week contract, I had no idea I’d stay for over 31 years. I have been so privileged to have worked with such fascinating, creative, and always inspiring managers, producers, writers, and comedy talent.
“After finally making up my mind about leaving Radio 4 next spring, I’m now excited about taking all that I have learnt in this unique organisation, and exploring the opportunities I can see outside the corporation.”
Gwyneth Williams, Controller Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, said: “Caroline has made a huge contribution to BBC Radio over the years and I’ve been lucky to work with her. She has commissioned thousands of programmes for the enjoyment of Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra listeners, and personally I’ve admired her ability to find and develop new talent and her drive to showcase more women in comedy.
“Her expertise and experience in comedy and entertainment are unparalleled and I would like to thank Caroline for her commitment and professional dedication to Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra.”
The recruitment for a new Commissioning Editor for Comedy and Entertainment will commence shortly as a three-day-a-week post. Plans are currently being developed for how the other programme areas currently overseen by this post will be covered.