Jana Bennett, former president and general manager of the History Channel and a top BBC producer and executive across many years, has died. She was 66.

Her career began as a BBC News trainee where she quickly rose through the ranks as a producer of current affairs shows before becoming the first female head of science at the corporation.

After a period at Discovery, Bennett returned to the BBC as Director of Television in 2002 and was promoted to Director of Vision in 2007, taking responsibility for commissioning, production and scheduling of all TV, video and online content across the corporation’s outlets.

Bennett was a member of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Executive Committee and was on the Advisory Board of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. She was also a trustee of Comic Relief and a fellow of the Royal Television Society as well as being on the board of Women in Film and Television.

She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2019.

BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “Jana Bennett was one of the most talented television producers of her generation and a formidable champion of public service broadcasting. She was a trailblazer who rose to the top of the industry, tirelessly championing upcoming talent, as well as having the foresight to bring together television and digital services. She was a brilliant and gifted colleague and is a big loss to the television industry.”

Jon Creamer

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