Sir Huw Wheldon, Former Head Of BBC Television, Dies
LONDON (AP) _ Sir Huw Wheldon, former head of television at the British Broadcasting Corp. and a popular broadcaster who did a series of programs on Britain’s royal family, died Friday, his family announced. He was 69.
No cause of death was announced.
The Welsh-born Wheldon joined the BBC press department in 1952 and moved into broadcasting with children’s programs. His strong interest in the arts led to his appointment as head of documentaries before he was made controller of BBC-TV programs in 1965 and managing director - the top position - in 1968.
In overall charge, Wheldon turned the whole of the evening programming on the BBC’s main channel back to front, putting light comedy early and more serious programs late - an enormously popular change.
He retired as managing director in 1975 but stayed on to host a series of programs on royalty which included appearances by Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip and their son Prince Charles. Such royal appearances were unusual then, and Wheldon later explained that he had started to make a series of programs only about the royal family’s homes but was able to expand it because the royalty were the only ones who could explain things.
Wheldon was knighted in 1976 for his services to television.
Survivors include his wife, novelist Jacqueline Wheldon, and three children.