Place of Birth
(Wales, United Kingdom, South Glamorgan, Glamorgan, South Wales, Brecon Beacons, United Kingdom, with Dependencies and Territories)
Donald Baverstock was a British television producer and executive, born in Cardiff, Wales. He initially worked for BBC Television in their Talks Department, where he was the Editor of the topical magazine programme Highlight and then co-devised and edited its more ambitious and better-remembered successor Tonight, which began in 1957.
Baverstock worked on Tonight until 1961, when he was promoted to be the BBCâ€™s Assistant Controller of Programmes across the whole television service. He did not occupy this post for very long, however, as in early 1963 he succeeded his superior Stuart Hood to become the Controller of Programmes for BBC1, in anticipation of the launch of the station's companion BBC2 the following year. In the same year he requested Sydney Newman to develop a new Saturday evening show for BBC1 which would become Doctor Who.
However, soon after the launch of BBC2 in 1964, Controller Michael Peacock quickly began to run into difficulties, and BBC Director-General Hugh Greene decided in 1965 that the two men would be better suited to running each otherâ€™s channels, and took the decision to swap them over.
However, Baverstock felt insulted that he was being asked to take what he saw as a demotion to the lesser channel, and refused to take up his new post, instead resigning from the BBC altogether. He subsequently became involved in the establishment of the ITV northern franchise holder Yorkshire Television, becoming the company's first Director of Programmes and overseeing the creation of popular hits such as the soap opera Emmerdale Farm. Despite being ensconced in Yorkshire, Baverstock did attempt to return to Wales, at one point applying for the vacant post of Controller of BBC Wales. Former colleague Leonard Miall claimed in Baverstock's obituary in the Independent newspaper that the BBC Governors who interviewed him were "put off" by his "casual behaviour". Another factor may have been that, although born in Wales, Baverstock, like most of his fellow-countrymen, did not speak Welsh - an attribute considered essential for anyone aspiring to become the Controller of BBC Wales.