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JANE LUSH, ‘The Weakest Link Was My First Huge Breakthrough’

It might have been goodbye from Anne Robinson, but for Jane Lush, the ex-Entertainment Controller at the BBC, The Weakest Link is one of her emblems of success.

As Lush prepares to discuss female role models, Strictly Come Dancing – another career highlight – and her upcoming position as Chair of BAFTA at our inaugural event, Step Up met the doyenne of British television.

‘At the start, I wasn’t ambitious at all,’ says Jane of her forty years at the BBC. ‘I’ve never been someone who has planned their career but if I saw an opportunity sail past, I always jumped on the ship and worked incredibly hard.’

Lush, who didn’t attend university, joined the Beeb at 18 years old. ‘I was a trainee secretary; they taught me how to arrange flowers in a cup, how to apply my make-up, how to type and they also taught me how to write for radio. It was a very different time and I never set out thinking I’d stride my way through the BBC.’

But other women within the corporation changed that. ‘I always had someone, usually a woman, who mentored me; not in any official way, but whoever it was at the time, gave me the confidence that I didn’t have within myself.’

Lush, who becomes the vice chair at BAFTA this summer and then takes on the top job next year, gasped when someone suggested that she stood for the position. ‘I thought I would just be election fodder – to bump up the numbers.’ Despite being responsible for transforming BBC One and Two into the market leaders that we all enjoy today, Lush admits that she’s rubbish at putting herself forward at work. It’s a classic female problem and one that she wants to talk about further at our Step Up Club night on Monday.

If you want to know what success really means to Jane Lush (clue: it isn’t money or power) then book here. You’re lucky, we’ve just released a couple more tickets.


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