Cassian Harrison

SVP Commissioning, BBC Studios & Channel Editor, BBC4

Biography

Born in Glasgow, Donegal ancestry, comprehensive educated, got into making film and television after leaving university. Worked my way up from duplicating video cassettes to editing to directing corporate videos, and from there into TV documentaries. Have done hard-core current affairs in Taliban Afghanistan and sundry other skippy spots, but also glossy history and science series and have won Bafta, Emmies etc. etc.

Joined the BBC about 10 years ago, and now run one of their smaller but I would argue perfectly formed channels… 🙂 Plenty of good stories, and given that the BBC rejected me when I first applied as a graduate, am possibly a good example of where you can get to if you keep plugging away.

Passionately believe the media – particularly places like the BBC – should have greater diversity of background and outlook. Would love to try and give newer generations a bit of inspiration and happy to answer questions on any and all fronts. Really happy to put the effort in to get to places that might not often get outside visitors, and take some proper time doing so.

BBC Bio

Cassian Harrison is Channel Editor of BBC4, one of the BBC’s most distinctive and much-loved television services. Under Cassian’s leadership, BBC4 has grown to its highest audience share in its history and won numerous awards including Broadcast Digital Channel of the Year.

Cassian has introduced numerous innovations to the channel, from highly successful ‘Slow’ Television, to innovative drama and documentary formats to witty and highly popular takes on traditional factual TV with series such ‘Trainspotting Live’ and ‘British History’s Biggest Fibs and building its reputation for outstanding Music programming with hits such as ‘Bros: When The Screaming Stops’. He has also expanded BBC4’s global reach, adding landmark factual series such as Ken Burns’ ‘Vietnam War’ to the channel’s renowned international drama offer.

Prior to joining the BBC, Cassian spent 15 years in the independent sector, working as a Director, Producer and Executive Producer across a variety of genres including history, documentary and current affairs. His programmes won many awards including a Bafta, a Peabody, 3 Emmies and 5 RTS awards, while his creative innovations on landmark series such as 'Britain from Above' set new standards in programme-making. Cassian is also one of the UK’s innovators in cross-platform media production, setting up one of the industry’s first 360º production facilities for Lion Television.