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Paul Fox, TV Executive Who Ordered ‘The Two Ronnies’, Dies Aged 98

Paul Fox, the British television executive who commissioned iconic shows such as The Two Ronnies and Parkinson, has died aged 98.

Fox’s family informed the BBC of his passing this morning. He is best known for spells as Controller of BBC1 and Head of Network Television for the wider BBC, and as Managing Director of Yorkshire Television.

Fox, who as knighted in 1991, began his career in the 1950s as a newsreel scriptwriter and went on to upload Sportsview and Panorama. During that time he invented BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In 1967, he then became head of BBC1, going on to commission some of the BBC’s biggest shows such as comedy The Two Ronnies, talk show Parkinson and wartime sitcom Dad’s Army.

Between 1973 and 1988 he led Yorkshire Television, which held the Yorkshire franchise for ITV at the time. He returned to the BBC before retiring.

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.”

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