BBC 'golden age' man, Bill Cotton no more

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{image-billy cotton_12082008.jpg}London, Aug 12: Sir Bill Cotton, the man who oversaw some of the most popular BBC shows of the seventies, has died aged 80 in Bournemouth on Tuesday, Aug 12. Sir Bill, was the broadcaster's managing director of television before retiring in 1987. As the corporation's head of light entertainment between 1970 and 1977, Sir Bill led the production of programmes such as, The Two Ronnies, Morecambe And Wise and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

His friend, the entertainer Bruce Forsyth, said that Cotton created a 'golden age' of television. "It's a very sad day to lose him. He knew about the business. He knew about television. He was responsible for what I think was the golden age of BBC television, which we'll never have again," the sources said.

"He knew what the public wanted, and he gave the public what they wanted," he added. Sir Bill was awarded the Academy Fellowship by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) in 1998, the highest accolade that can be awarded by the academy.

David Croft, writer of Dad's Army, which ran for nine years from 1968 until 1977, said Cotton was a 'wonderful showman'. "He was a wonderful showman and a great believer in his producers and he backed us absolutely to the hilt," he said.

"He was an entrepreneur, he was a showman, and there's not many of his type about any more, I'm afraid. We shall miss him terribly. I loved him," he added.


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