Isaacs, Sir Jeremy

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ISAACS, SIR JEREMY (1932– ), English producer and arts executive. Isaacs was educated at Oxford, where he was president of the Union in 1955. In television, his main interests were in documentaries and current affairs, and he was responsible for celebrated series and programs both for bbc (Panorama) and Independent Television as producer, controller, editor, and sometimes journalist. The 26-part series The World at War about World War ii, which received worldwide praise, was initiated and produced by Isaacs in 1974. As an independent, he produced "A Sense of Freedom" for Scottish tv and a series for bbc, Irelanda Television History.

He became founding chief executive of Channel 4 in 1981, serving until 1987. Isaacs created a much envied model for cultural television. He was a major influence in the arts by attaching a high priority to opera and ballet as well as literature and the visual arts.

In 1988–96 Isaacs was general director of the Royal Opera House, Convent Garden, where he had served as a member of the board since 1985. Despite great financial difficulties in the arts and much media criticism of the Royal Opera House, Isaacs brought Covent Garden back to internationally acclaimed artistic levels.

A private and somewhat reserved personality, he is also a distinguished tv interviewer of singular discretion, allowing recognition for the personality being addressed (he rarely appears on the screen himself). He suffered a personal tragedy when his brother was killed by a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in 1975.

Isaacs has been the recipient of many honors and awards and was a governor of the British Film Institute from 1979. France made him a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et de Lettres in 1988. He also became chairman of Artsworld, a non-commercial cable television station. Isaacs was kighted in 1996 and is the author of Storm Over 4: A Personal Account (1989).

[Sally Whyte]

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Isaacs, Sir Jeremy

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