You are here

John Willis Appointed BAFTA Chairman

27 June 2012
John Willis (Pic: BAFTA/ Ian Derry)

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has named John Willis as its new Chairman, succeeding Tim Corrie after his two-year tenure. Corrie will continue to serve the Academy as Deputy Chairman for a further year.

John Willis said: “Sir David Lean was the first Chairman of the organisation that became BAFTA, and 65 years later it is a daunting responsibility, and indeed a great honour, to step into such giant shoes. I look forward to enhancing the amazing cultural and learning work that BAFTA does, as a charity, throughout the UK and in the USA. We have a duty not only to identify and reward excellence but to inspire future generations, so my efforts will be focussed on harnessing the unique body of talent and experience of our membership, in pursuit of our charitable goals.

“I very much look forward to working with the Board of Trustees and BAFTA staff across the organisation’s entire output, from annual award ceremonies to our year-round programme of public-facing events. As importantly, I will continue to champion our relevance in the film, television and games sectors, and to the public.”

Willis, currently Chief Executive of Mentorn Media and Group Creative Director of Tinopolis plc. has been closely involved with the Academy since becoming a member almost 30 years ago. He has been a Trustee of the Academy since 2007, serving as Chairman of the Television Committee before becoming Deputy Chairman of the Academy last year.

Willis’ appointment is effective today, and coincides with the release of the Academy’s Review of the Year, a look back on the highlights of its activity over the past 12 months.

A recipient of four BAFTA nominations and one win (for Johnny Go Home, Best Factual Programme in 1976), Willis started his career at Yorkshire Television where he directed a string of award-winning documentaries including Johnny Go Home and Alice - A Fight for Life. In 1988 he moved to Channel 4 as Controller of Factual Programmes before being promoted to Director of Programmes in 1993. During his time at Channel 4 successes included Trainspotting, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Cutting Edge, Father Ted, Big Breakfast and True Stories. After Channel 4 he moved to United Productions as Chief Executive where United made Hornblower, Paul Watson's Wedding in the Family and Alan Bleasdale's Oliver Twist. He represented United on the Boards of both Channel 5 and ITN and, after a term on the board of American broadcaster WBGH, he returned to England in 2003 to join the BBC as Director of Factual and Learning programmes which included The Secret Policeman and Planet Earth. He was also a member of the BBC Executive Committee. In late 2006 he joined Mentorn, producers of Question Time for the BBC as well as factual dramas including The Government Inspector and A Very Social Secretary. He is currently Chief Executive of Mentorn Media and Group Creative Director of Tinopolis plc.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Nick Williams, Press & Communications Coordinator, BAFTA.

Tel: 020 7292 5847
Email: [email protected]


The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. For further information, visit