Benbow exiting in BBC Children’s shake-up

Kay Benbow is the leaving the children’s division of UK pubcaster the BBC as part of a major shake-up that makes Cheryl Taylor its content chief.

Kay Benbow

Kay Benbow

The key change sees CBeebies chief Benbow leaving the Corporation at the end of the year, with current CBBC chief Cheryl Taylor becoming head of content.

CBBC production chief Helen Bullough is getting an expanded role encompassing preschool focused CBeebies, meaning Alison Stewart is also out.

CBeebies controller of business Jackie Myburgh is also exiting, while Claire Stocks’ position of head of interactive will also close. A head of curation and discovery post will replace it.

In effect, the changes mean the roles of CBeebies and CBBC controller and head of CBeebies production are made redundant.

BBC Children’s and BBC North director Alice Webb announced the changes in an internal note today. Broadcast first reported the story.

Cheryl Taylor

Cheryl Taylor

Taylor will now oversee all commissioning for BBC Children’s, overseeing content for under-16s.

The news comes soon after the BBC revealed it would plough an additional £34 million (€38 million) into its children’s programming over the next three years in a bid to better engage kids on digital platforms.

“We’re hugely proud of the content and services that we already offer children in the UK but we know that their needs and demands are constantly changing,” said Webb.

“As we move to a more personalised, platform approach – something of the utmost importance for the whole of the BBC – we need a staff structure that can deliver this change.

“The departure of such significant leaders is clearly a watershed moment for BBC Children’s and I am truly indebted to each of them for the superb work they have brought to the department over the years.”

Benbow first joined the BBC in 1998 and rejoined in 2006 after a short spell away. She became controller of CBeebies in 2010, and was interim director of BBC Children’s in 2014 after Joe Godwin resigned.

Webb then became director in 2015, and has since talked of the need for wide-ranging structural changes in order to face the challenge of on-demand platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, whom are increasingly important to platform-agnostic children’s audiences.

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