Mark Cooper BBC
Creative Head of BBC Music Entertainment
Mark Cooper is Creative Head of BBC Music Entertainment, the department responsible for much of BBC Television's popular music coverage, encompassing studio shows, live events and documentaries.
Music Entertainment covers a broad spectrum of popular music television but its signature strands are, Later… With Jools Holland, which Mark conceived with Jools and director Janet Fraser Crook in 1992; BBC TV coverage of the UK’s summer music festivals and the Sessions series for BBC One, Four and Red Button, which has so far seen performances from Annie Lennox, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison amongst many others. In addition, the department has hosted performances by Beyonce, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Coldplay outside BBC Television Centre.
Primarily a programme maker, Mark has been present at every episode of Later…With Jools Holland (and the Hootenannies) since its inception and has recently finished Series 36, which saw artists such as The Gorillaz, Hole, Alicia Keys and Tom Jones grace the studio.
Live television events are only one aspect of the department’s creative output. Mark has also been the Executive Producer of many ground breaking and award winning documentaries, including the six-part series I’m In A Rock and Roll Band, Queens of Britpop, Latin Music USA, Neil Young: Don’t Be Denied, Factory: Manchester from Joy Division to Happy Mondays, and the Britannia Series, which has covered a variety of musical genres from Heavy Metal to Synth to Folk and Blues.
Mark began his career as a music journalist with Q, No 1, Mojo, Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Record Mirror, where his first review was of the The Sex Pistols’ last gig at Winterland, San Francisco in 1978. From print journalism, he moved into Public Relations and began working for Virgin and Polygram, before working on his first TV show, Wired for Initial and Channel 4 in 1988.
He joined the BBC in January 1990 on BBC2’s arts and media programme The Late Show, with the responsibility for music performance and features. Ice-T, Kronos Quartet, Ahmad Jamal and REM all appeared on the show alongside films about Tom Waits, Henry Rollins and soul men.