At the time of the prize, Brian Wenham was Controller of BBC2, where he was renowned for his laid-back approach and astrakhan hat. Under his watch, the station’s viewing figures rose by 50%.
After National Service, Wenham, who died in 1997, started his career with Independent Television before becoming editor of the BBC’s flagship Panorama programme. Among his successes at BBC 2 were the Not the Nine O’Clock News comedy programme and the transformation of snooker into an unlikely must-see sporting event. He later became managing director of the corporation’s radio output, despite still referring to the medium as ‘the wireless’. Throughout his career, Wenham argued for broadcasting’s need for independence from political meddling.