Sir Paul Fox, former BBC executive who launched Dad’s Army, dies aged 98

Former BBC executive Sir Paul Fox has died at the age of 98, the corporation has announced on behalf of his family.

Sir Paul, who oversaw the launch of classic comedies Dad’s Army and The Two Ronnies and talk show Parkinson, also devised BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: “Sir Paul had a towering career in television – not just with the BBC – but across the industry.

“Few people have had such a broad and lasting impact on the TV landscape, commissioning shows that audiences have loved for decades and still love.

“From Sports Personality Of The Year and Panorama to The Two Ronnies, Dad’s Army and Parkinson, his legacy is unmatched.

“He was one of the best TV executives from a golden era in television. He will be hugely missed.”

DEC appeal/Sir Paul Fox
Sir Paul Fox devised BBC Sports Personality Of The Year (John Stillwell/PA)

During this period, he came up with the idea of BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, which was first awarded to runner Sir Chris Chataway in 1954. Sir Chris later became a Conservative MP.

Sir Paul was also a founding editor of sports show Grandstand and a controller of BBC One.

He then moved to become managing director of Yorkshire TV, which became ITV Yorkshire, from 1973 to 1988.

Harry Carpenter memorial
Sir Paul Fox was knighted for services to the TV industry in 1991 (Tim Ireland/PA)

Sir Paul then went on to become chairman of the Racecourse Association and the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) before leaving both roles in the 1990s.

He was also a former chairman of breakfast franchise consortium Daybreak TV and was a board member of Thames Television.

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