'Horizon' editor to lead BBC Science Unit

Thursday, November 12 2009, 14:20 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

Andrew Cohen, current editor of Horizon, has been appointed the new head of the BBC Science Unit.

Since 2005, Cohen has overseen the rebranding and reinvigoration of the Horizon factual series. Taking over from the outgoing John Lynch, he will now lead the overall BBC science division and also drive forward the new virtual Academy of Science.

Lynch, who is leaving the corporation, will depart on a high as his History of Science series forms the centrepiece of BBC Two's science season in 2010.

"I have been privileged to have led a group of the most talented specialist production teams in the world, but I feel that this is the right time for me to hand over the reins," he said.

"I am delighted to be passing the leadership of a revitalised unit over to Andrew, who has a clear, strategic vision for its future."

BBC director of Vision Jana Bennett added: "I would like to pay tribute to John Lynch's excellent leadership of science programme-making at the BBC and thank him for his unwavering commitment to furthering the public understanding of science.

"John is also a brilliant filmmaker who has been involved in a number of groundbreaking productions, from Fermat's Last Theorem, The Planets and Walking With Dinosaurs to Supervolcano and Earth: The Power Of The Planet.

"I'm very sorry to see him go but delighted that someone as talented as Andrew Cohen is replacing him. Andrew Cohen's editorship of Horizon has been marked by his passion for science and his innovative approach to communicating it and I'm sure the unit will continue to thrive under his leadership."

Since he joined the BBC Science Unit 14 years ago, Cohen has worked on various leading programmes, such as Brain Story, Edge Of Life and How To Build A Human.

When taking on the new role next year, he will handle the return of Bang Goes The Theory to BBC One for a second series, along with the arrival of new programme Seven Wonders Of The Solar System.

He will further spearhead the new online Academy of Science, which will bring together 100 top UK scientists to help the BBC launch new projects to advance scientific communication.

"It is a privilege to be taking on this role and to be given the chance to build on John's outstanding leadership," said Cohen.

"I'm looking forward to working with a highly talented and experienced team of senior executives and one of the most creative and original production teams anywhere in the world at what is an incredibly exciting time for science."