Joe Oppenheimer Named Acting Head of BBC Films

Christine Langan - Getty H 2016
Credit: Getty / David M. Benett

The company confirms the departure of Christine Langan, who will join Steve Coogan's Baby Cow Productions.

The BBC on Wednesday confirmed the news many in the British film industry had heard almost two months ago: that Christine Langan was leaving as head of BBC Films after running the company for seven years. 

"I’ve loved working with Christine," said BBC director general Tony Hall. "She has a real eye for the popular as well as the idiosyncratic. She's collaborative, ambitious, a brilliant enabler of ideas — and a great ambassador for our country's film industry. She's done a great job for BBC Films. We'll miss her."

Langan's departure ends her 10 years with the acclaimed department, during which time she's helped support more than 70 independent British films, including recent hits Brooklyn and I, Daniel Blake, as well as such upcoming titles as A United Kingdom and The Mercy.

She leaves to join Baby Cow Productions, Steve Coogan's banner, as CEO. She previously worked with the company on Armando Iannucci's In the Loop.

"BBC Films is a precious resource to independent filmmakers in the U.K. and audiences everywhere," said Langan. "It's been a truly great privilege and very fulfilling experience to run the division and I'm extremely grateful, both to the BBC for the wonderful opportunity and to an amazingly hardworking and dedicated team, without whom it wouldn't have been possible."

Coogan described Christine's arrival as a "dream appointment" for Baby Cow.

"She is universally respected as a smart, insightful executive with great taste," he said. "I experienced this up close when I was developing the film Philomena. Christine's input, guidance and passion helped bring it to life in the best possible way. She combines an ambition and vision for the company with a real understanding of how to nurture creative collaborations. Talent trusts her."

Joe Oppenheimer, commissioning executive at BBC Films, will take on the role of acting head of the film operation while the BBC begins looking for a permanent replacement.