Mark Cooper to step down as BBC Studios head of music, Alison Howe to run Later

Mark Cooper

It’s the end of an era for the BBC’s music TV programmes, with Mark Cooper set to step down after this year’s Glastonbury Festival, Music Week can reveal.

Cooper has been BBC Studios’ head of music for over 20 years and has been behind countless influential and important shows. He was the founding producer of flagship show Later… With Jools Holland and the annual New Year’s Eve Hootenanny, and has led the BBC’s Glastonbury TV coverage since it began in 1997, transforming from a small outside broadcast into the all-encompassing multi-channel event it is today.

Cooper will continue to work with the BBC as an executive producer on special projects, while executive producer Alison Howe – winner of the Media Pioneer award at Music Week’s Women In Music Awards in 2015 – will take the reins at Later.

Between 2013 and 2018 Cooper oversaw the TV coverage of The Proms, curating both the David Bowie and Stax Proms, and was executive producer on a number of classical and dance films, from Pappano’s Classical Voices to Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake With Tamara Rojo.

He also produced countless documentaries on some of the biggest names in music and has been responsible for series that explore musical origins, such as Reginald D Hunter’s Songs Of The South. He led the BBC4 Britannia strand, which contains 25 films on the evolution of music genres in the UK.

“Enough is enough, it’s time to let someone else have a go,” said Cooper. “It’s been a privilege to champion music on BBC television. I am looking forward to working on some more great programmes exploring in depth music subjects and cultures I care passionately about.”

“Mark has done an incredible job heading up the music department,” said Suzy Lamb, managing director of entertainment and music. “I have huge respect for him. He has led a loyal and successful team, producing many ground-breaking, award-winning shows.”

BBC Studios will be recruiting for a new creative director of music. The changes will come into effect on July 1.

The news comes soon after Music Week revealed the Beeb’s plans to appoint a new controller of pop music. The heads of all of the BBC pop music stations, plus cross-platform brand BBC Music and the Music TV commissioning heads will report into the new controller.

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